Gov. Baker Looks Back On Merrimack Valley Gas Disaster

charlie baker merrimack valley gas explosions fire

Gov. Charlie Baker addressed the media the night of the Merrimack Valley gas explosions. (Methuen Police)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On September 13, 2018, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was at an event in Boston when an aide told him he needed to leave immediately.

"One of the advance guys came up to me and whispered in my ear that it was time to go," the governor said. "I gave him the look I usually give him, which is, 'It's not time to go.' This is a game we always play. He looked back at me with a look that said, no, Gov, you really need to go. We went downstairs, got into the car, and the second I got into the car, I got handed a phone and told there were explosions going on in the Merrimack Valley and we were going back to the office."

Gov. Baker sat down with WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Merrimack Valley gas disaster to talk about how the night unfolded. Regal asked Baker when the full scale of the disaster became apparent to him.

"I think once we got up there and started to get briefed by the first responder crews, the teams from the various three communities," Gov. Baker said. "When they started talking about how many people they had, how many folks had come, how many fires were going, how many fires they'd put out, how many homes had been either damaged or destroyed—and, by the way, the length of the explosion, the fact that we're talking about like a 40-mile problem with respect to the main pipe there that blew out—I think by midnight we were all pretty clear that this was a really big problem and that we were gonna be working it for a long time."

The governor also talked about taking control of the situation from Columbia Gas after he was unsatisfied with their response, declaring an emergency, and what has changed since. Listen to the full interview below.

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WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports

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