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Deadline To File Claim In Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions Approaching

Officials are reminding Merrimack Valley residents that Friday is the deadline to file a claim in the $143 million class action settlement stemming from 2018's natural gas explosions and fires.

Lawyers encourage anyone impacted to file a claim, even if they've already filed one through their insurance or Columbia Gas, the utility company blamed for the Sept. 13 disaster.

The settlement is meant to pay for both major losses and minor inconveniences. It calls for six categories of lump sum payouts, ranging from up to $50 for a "nominal" disruption to up to $15,000 for a "major" disruption.

Lawyers say a family of four could receive between $1,050 and $9,500, based on how severely they were impacted.

"Evacuation expenses, loss of gas service, heating expenses, lost wages, lost business income, property damage, and emotional distress" are among the qualified expenses, according to the lawyers.

The disaster killed one person, injured dozens of others and damaged or destroyed more than 100 buildings in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded it was caused by an overpressurized gas line during a routine pipeline replacement project.

State officials also held the first of two public hearings this week as they launch their own investigation.

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