LAWRENCE (WBZ-AM) -- The Massachusetts National Guard has been trying to hand out space heaters to those affected by the Columbia Gas fires in the Merrimack Valley--but only 10 percent of homes are able to get one.
It's due to the wiring in these old homes. The electrical systems have to be at a certain level, and many simply aren't. Homes need to be cleared by an electrician before they are given a space heater.
"You need a dedicated 20-amp circuit to run the heater, and if you don't have up to date electrical, it's kind of hard to do," one resident told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said he'll push for help--and that Columbia Gas will pay for everything.
"If they can't stay in their homes, get them into hotel rooms; if they can't get the hotel rooms, we're going to try to get them into market-rate housing," he said. "All these things kind of like, move fast, but in the end, if we have to shelter people, we'll shelter people."
As for using space heaters when you haven't been cleared to do so--that's not a good idea, say fire officials.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports