It’s been nearly three months since an over pressurized gas line caused thousands to lose gas in the Merrimack Valley, leaving many without heat and the ability to cook. Columbia Gas has been working to get things back to normal for residents, but one family says an appliance given to them by the utility caused a serious injury.
Kasandra Zardenas recently suffered first degree burns to her hands and face after using her Columbia Gas issued stove. She and her family believe the flames shot from the oven were a result of the company restoring gas to residents living above her in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Following the incident, Zardenas is unable to work as a Primary Care Assistant, take care of her grandmother, who is in hospice care, or help her 4-year-old daughter with everyday tasks like putting on her clothes or brushing her hair.
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Zardenas says Columbia Gas has not provided an explanation of what happened or how it occurred.
“I want to know what happened," she said. "They haven’t showed up and said sorry or anything."
The incident happened Sunday when Zardenas was cooking for her grandmother. She’s been cooking on the Columbia Gas issued stove for about the last month, which is when their gas was restored.
“I tried to put out the fire. But it was growing, going up the stove," she said. "I just closed the door because there’s tanks of oxygen here and my grandmas here and she can barely walk.”
Zardenas' cousin, Elizabeth Iguina, who lives on the third floor, says the incident happened on the same day that her own gas was restored.
“I’m a hundred percent sure that it was caused by the work he was doing,” Iguina said of the Columbia Gas employee who came out to her home. "They didn't have no issues for a month and then the day he was working was the day that she got burnt.”
Now, working inside the home causes Zardenas stress.
“I don’t feel safe working here," she said. "I don’t feel safe for my grandmother to be here in this house.”
Colombia Gas has not responded to NBC10 Boston’s phone calls or emails seeking a comment from the utility.