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Columbia Gas Settles With Lawrence Family Hurt In Explosions

An aerial view of the damaged home in Lawrence where 18-year-old Leonel Rondon was killed due to the gas explosions. (Courtesy National Transportation Safety Board)
An aerial view of the damaged home in Lawrence where 18-year-old Leonel Rondon was killed due to the gas explosions. (Courtesy National Transportation Safety Board)

The utility company responsible for September's natural gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley has settled a negligence lawsuit from a family injured in the disaster.

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and the Figueroa family didn't disclose the settlement amount Tuesday, but said it includes providing a motorized wheelchair, a mobility van and modifications to the family's Lawrence home.

Shakira Figueroa, 21, was severely injured and two other family members were hurt in the blast. A family friend, 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, died when the home's chimney fell on his SUV.

Socrates De La Cruz, the family's lawyer, said the settlement is "an important step" toward healing but the family will never be the same.

Joe Hamrock, head of NiSource, Columbia Gas' parent company, said "our hearts go out" to the family and the community.

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