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Federal Probe Into Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions On Hold Due To Shutdown

On Nov. 8, natural gas contract workers repair underground gas lines in Lawrence. (Steven Senne/AP)
On Nov. 8, natural gas contract workers repair underground gas lines in Lawrence. (Steven Senne/AP)
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The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into gas explosions that rocked Massachusetts in September is on hold because of the federal government shutdown.

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said the probe has stalled due to a funding lapse for transportation and housing agencies.

Markey said NTSB needs the resources to "complete its investigation and compile a comprehensive account of the safety lapses" that led to the disaster. Residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover have already waited too long for answers, he said.

A teenager was killed, two dozen people injured and more than 100 homes and businesses engulfed in flames due to a series of explosions blamed on Columbia Gas, which let too much pressure build up in gas lines.

It remained unclear Saturday when the shutdown might end.

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