Press Releases

Congresswoman Lori Trahan Marks One Year Anniversary of Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

Washington, September 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) marked the one year anniversary of the Merrimack Valley Gas explosions, which impacted the communities of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. The explosions damaged or destroyed over 130 homes and businesses, sent at least 20 people to the hospital, and claimed the life of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon.


“Exactly one year ago today, unimaginable heartbreak struck the Merrimack Valley when a series of gas explosions claimed the life of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon and injured many more across the region. As the recovery continues in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, it remains clear to me that we owe it to the victims of this disaster to pass strong pipeline safety legislation to prevent a similar tragedy from happening ever again in any community across the United States. I’m proud to be working with Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and Congressman Moulton to advocate for passage of the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act, which would help do just that,” said Congresswoman Trahan.


You can learn more about the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act HERE:


Yesterday, Congresswoman Trahan spoke on the House floor to commemorate this solemn anniversary and renew her call for Congress to pass strong pipeline safety legislation. It can viewed or download HERE or below:  


A transcript of Rep. Trahan’s speech can be found below:


“Madam Speaker, I rise in recognition of a tragic anniversary that the residents of the Merrimack Valley will never forget.


Tomorrow will mark one year since a cascade of explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, Massachusetts damaged over 130 structures – homes and businesses among them – burning several to the ground.


At least 20 people were sent to the hospital.


A Lawrence police officer, Ivan Soto, lost his home while aiding others.


A young woman, Shakira Figueroa, was severely injured.


And a young man, Leonel Rondon, lost his life.


An NTSB investigation revealed a series of failures by the gas company as it replaced pipelines in the area.


Oversights allowed the full flow of high-pressure gas to enter a low-pressure distribution system.


In April, I introduced the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act to prevent this type of disaster from ever happening again.


We owe it to the Sotos, the Figueroas, the Rondons, and the many other families who suffered on September 13th to pass strong pipeline safety legislation this year.


Thank you, and I yield back.”


In addition to her floor speech, Representative Trahan wrote an op-ed in The Eagle Tribune outlining some reflections on this one year anniversary, and the importance of passing the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act. It can be read it HERE: