All members of the Andover community — students, faculty, faculty children, and staff — evacuated campus buildings at 5:14 p.m. this Thursday, due to a gas leak affecting the towns of Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover. After gathering on the Great Lawn, the Andover community proceeded to the Smith Center and Cage for shelter, food, and water. These locations were cleared by the Andover Fire Department as safe for the community. Later that evening, many students returned to their dorms which were cleared for occupancy by the Andover Fire Department. Others left campus with local students or family.
Head of School John Palfrey cancelled classes for Thursday, September 14. While campus had electricity, gas lines were shut off, limiting heat and hot water on campus.
“We are grateful to the Andover Fire Department for their assistance in keeping our community safe, and to all who offered support in any number of ways, from food and water to logistics,” wrote Palfrey in an email to Andover families Thursday at 10:15 p.m.
As of Thursday, the gas leak has sparked fires in at least 39 homes across the three towns, according to “USA Today.” No fires occured on campus. 18,000 homes are without without power, according to “The Eagle Tribune.” On Twitter, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has said that the state and federal governments will investigate the gas leak as soon as utilities are secured in affected areas.
Governor Baker tweeted, “We have brought in and will continue to bring in hundreds of natural gas technicians who will deploy throughout the neighborhoods to do the work they need to do, house by house, to ensure each building is safe to occupy. Once neighborhoods are cleared, the power can be restored.”
Visit www.phillipian.net and The Phillipian’s social media for updates as this story develops.
Editor’s note: Due to campus evacuations on Thursday evening and power shut downs at the press, The Phillipian is running the print edition of vol. CXLI, No. 16 late.