Safety Precautions Discussed Following Gas Fueled Explosions in Massachusetts

DES MOINES, Iowa -- People who live in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, Massachusetts use words like scary and unreal to describe what they've witnessed and experienced over the past 24 hours.

"Like our police officer said last night, he drove down, he said all I could think of, it was like an Armageddon," said Lois Bullis of Andover. "Because it was pretty scary last night. When you were driving down the streets and seeing fire trucks from towns, oh my gosh, like from Hampstead, New Hampshire, from everywhere. I mean they had a ten alarm here."

"People are just kind of frightened and bewildered and hoping that their home isn`t next," said Joe Robles of Lawrence. "It`s definitely somber. It`s definitely a sad moment, sad situation. You know, just people trying to scramble and figure out what the next step is going to be, especially just finding a place to stay."

Here in Iowa, people are wondering if something similar could happen here.

"Natural gas is volatile," said Geoff Greenwood, Media Relations Manager at MidAmerican Energy Company. "That`s why we take so many precautions to ensure that the system is reliable and safe."

Greenwood says MidAmerican has a monitoring station in Sioux City that keeps track of its system throughout the state, to make sure that the pressure is within limits.

"If there is something that is out of limit, something such as pressure that's going too high, we have monitoring equipment around the clock, that will let us known that something's wrong," said Greenwood. "We have systems that will kick in, if pressure is too high. In addition, we would send out technicians immediately to take a look at the area in question and address whatever needs addressing."