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Gov. Charlie Baker and other officials announced the move at a morning news conference and said electricity was restored to almost all affected homes and businesses in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera said that city officials will work with residents to eliminate red tape. One person was killed, several were hurt and dozens of people were evacuated. "We will be looking at their record keeping, their procedural compliance, their procedures, their training, the oversight of their contractors", Sumwalt said Saturday.

In the Merrimack Valley, most displaced residents are able to return to their homes Sunday morning, after Thursday's series of natural gas explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

There is no evidence that anything nefarious contributed to the fires, Sumwalt said.

"The explosions have brought heartbreak for numerous families-and the loss of a young life", Baker said.

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Lawrence, Andover and North Andover - the three towns impacted by Thursday's blasts - were listed as areas where neighborhood lines would be replaced, the utility said on its website.

A pipeline controller working at a console in Columbus, Ohio, noticed the pressure increase in a pipeline in Lawrence, Massachusetts, one of the three towns where the fires occurred, Sumwalt told CNN's Alison Kosik.

Utility crews worked through the weekend to complete checks and shut gas meters on homes and buildings in the affected areas, Eversource Energy (ES.N), the utility overseeing the review, said on Sunday. They warned residents not to turn the meters back on themselves, not to turn on gas appliances until service is restored and to call 911 and leave their homes if they smell gas.

The next two phases of recovery, Baker said, will be assessing damage to the low-pressure gas system and having technicians inspect each piece of equipment that distributes gas.

Columbia Gas' parent, NiSource Inc (NI.N), has set up a phone center and an office in Lawrence to accept residents' claims for property damage and costs related to the fires and evacuation, NiSource spokesman Ken Stammen said in an email.


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