Crew Working In Woburn Hits Gas Line

woburn gas line hit

Woburn Fire at the scene of a hit gas line Tuesday afternoon. (Bernice Corpuz/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

WOBURN (WBZ-AM) -- Around 300 homes are still without natural gas because of an "overpressurization incident" Monday--and the situation could be complicated further after a crew working to restore service hit a gas line nearby.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz reports that a work crew hit the line with an excavator on Buckman Street Tuesday afternoon. Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin confirmed that gas had been shut off in the area, but said that, right now, there were no evacuations. 

It wasn't yet clear how many additional homes were affected. The Woburn Fire Department was on the scene.

National Grid spokesperson Marcy Reed said crews will likely begin the process of restoring service tonight.

"If folks want us to be re-lighting their appliances overnight, we'll be here, we're happy to do that," Reed said. "For anyone else, we'll continue that work throughout the day tomorrow starting early morning, and we still expect all customers to be back with full gas by Thursday."

Yesterday's crew was made up of replacements filling in for union workers, who have been locked out for months due to a contract dispute. Reed said that what happened yesterday has nothing to do with the fact that National Grid has locked out union employees, and that the replacement workers have "decades" of experience and are "fully qualified."

"Mistakes do happen," she said. "This could happen regardless of the workforce we have on the ground ... I stand by the qualifications and the expertise that our workers have."

The union, however, disagrees--and has warned about the use of replacement workers. They say the incident shows the state's natural gas industry is in "disarray," and that National Grid doesn't have access to experienced workers and inspectors they need without ending the lockout.

Steelworkers Union President John Buonapane said he believes the manager believed responsible for the overpressurization should not have been doing the work.

"I think every day that we're not working, the company's rolling the dice with safety, I really do," he said. "And I don't believe this would've happened if we were doing our jobs."

Mayor Galvin said right now, officials are just focused on getting things back to normal.

"Our major concern now is to get normalcy back to the city, normalcy back to the neighborhood," he said. "And then, questions will be asked about how did an incident like this happen, and God forbid, it happened again."

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz (@BerniceWBZ) reports

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