<![CDATA[NECN - New England News]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.necn.com/news/new-england http://media.necn.com/designimages/clear.gif NECN https://www.necn.com en-usSat, 22 Sep 2018 14:00:24 -0400Sat, 22 Sep 2018 14:00:24 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Fall (And Chill) Officially Arrives Tonight]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:24:20 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/09222018-pm-wx.jpg

Autumn officially begins tonight at 9:54 PM, and this weekend will feel like fall.

Temperatures this afternoon will be in the 60s to near 70 with a gusty northwest wind.

Overnight temperatures will drop into the 30s and 40s in Northern New England. Freeze Warnings are in effect for parts of Northeastern Vermont, Northern New Hampshire, and Northwestern Maine.

Frost Advisories are also in effect for parts of Northern New England.

In Southern New England expect overnight temperatures in the 40s and 50s.

Sunday will be partly cloudy with highs in the 60s to near 70.

A secondary cold front brings in even cooler air by Monday. Morning lows start in the 30s and 40s with 50s to around 60 by afternoon with a stiff east wind.

Milder air returns Tuesday, and especially Wednesday, along with waves of rain and humidity.



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Lawrence Woman Killed in Worcester Crash Saturday]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 11:35:39 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Police+Lights+Generic+NBC4_15.jpg

A 31-year-old Lawrence woman has died after her car rear ended a Ford F-350 pickup truck that was towing a car carrier on Route 290 Eastbound in Worcester early Saturday morning, according to state police.

The driver, whose name has not been released pending family notification, was driving a 2017 Honda Civic near Exit 22 when the crash occurred. Police said the woman, and her passengers - identified only as two men, ages 24 and 25 - were trapped inside the car.

Worcester firefighters responded and extricated all three people from the vehicle. they were taken to UMass Medical Center in Worcester for treatment. The driver was pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.

The driver of the pickup truck was not injured, according to police.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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<![CDATA[Wareham Firefighters Battle 3-Alarm Church Fire]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:05:11 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/09222018-wareham.jpg

Wareham fire officials extinguished a three-alarm fire at the Saint Patrick Church early Saturday morning.

The fire was reported just after 1 a.m. 

"Upon arrival, the duty captain reported smoke coming from the roof and fire showing inside the structure from the front," fire officials said in a prepared statement.

Fire officials in charge at the scene struck three alarms to summon additional firefighters to the church, located at 88 High St., and to cover the fire station. Mutual aid was provided by Wareham Police, Wareham EMS, Onset Fire, Carver Fire, Marion Fire, Rochester Fire, Bourne Fire, DFS Special Operations and the Providence Canteen.

Firefighters extinguished the glaze and vented the building. The assisting towns were sent back but a Wareham fire crew stood by overnight to ensure the fire did not break out again.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. No damage estimate was provided.



Photo Credit: Wareham Fire Department / Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Columbia Gas Holds Job Fair to Expedite Repairs]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:02:44 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Columbia_Gas_Sets_2-Month_Deadline_to_Restore_Gas.jpg

Columbia Gas held a job fair in Lawrence today to find skilled plumbers, electricians, and other workers to aid in the effort to restore gas service to 8,600 customers effected by last week's explosions and fires in Merrimack Valley.

Many of those who stopped by were offered jobs on the spot as the extra personnel is needed to restore service before winter. The effort could take as long as two months, officials say. Meanwhile, the National Guard has been activated to distribute hot plates and space heaters to those gas customers in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover who are without service.

While Saturday's daytime temperatures remain mild, the mercury could drop into the 40s and 50s overnight into Sunday. See the latest forecast

The company said gas service will be restored to all customers by mid November as they work to replace 48 miles of pipeline. 

The Sept. 13 disaster killed one person, injured 25 others and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and businesses in the three communities.

While most residents who were forced to flee their homes have been allowed to return, thousands remain without natural gas service needed for cooking, hot water and to heat their homes as fall arrives and temperatures begin to drop as soon as this weekend.

On Saturday, Columbia Gas sought additional help to get the job done. The job fair was held at Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover.

"We are asking for plumbers and electricians," said Columbia Gas spokesman Ken Stammen. "On the customer service positions we are making offers on the spot today."

"This is going to be extra work for us which is good," said Michael Mooneyhan, who works as a plumber for Ricket Plumbing and Heating. 

Richard Ricker who owns Ricker Plumbing and Heating was also one of those who walked away with a job. 

“The inspector was there,” said Richard Ricker who owns Ricker Plumbing and Heating. “The Lawrence inspector. And he said-you’re all set.”

It was a silver lining under very tragic circumstances.

"Yea we get work out of it but the poor families that were left out and still are and are suffering," Mooneyhan said. 

At about the same time as the fair, National Guard troops went door to door in South Lawrence delivering hot plates for families who are currently living without gas.

"So now people are home," said Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera. "And they have electricity. And now the next step is how do we bring a sense of normalcy to them? And that is, yeah they can get their hands on some food, but their own place to cook it."

The Padilla family in Lawrence can't believe how long they may have to go without service at their Dunstable Street home. They're already boiling water for baths and showers.

"Every day, for everyone to take a shower, they need to heat it up in the microwave," said Camila Lopez. "[They] let it cool down and everyone takes a shower with that."

"We all share the same goal of getting people back to their normal daily life, whether it's a hot shower, a home-cooked meal or the ability to open up a business," said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who declared a state of emergency last week. "We're bringing every available resource to make this happen."

Twenty crews are currently deployed to work on the pipeline, with that number increasing to 60 on Monday. By Oct. 8, 195 crews will be working to restore the pipeline. Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Joe Albanese will serve as chief recovery officer for the restoration project.

Baker and local officials also announced Friday that hotplates for cooking and space heaters for warmth will be distributed to residents without natural gas service.

The self-contained hotplate units will be delivered door-to-door to Lawrence residents beginning on Saturday and will be distributed to affected Andover and North Andover residents at designated claim centers in those towns over the weekend.

About 24,000 space heaters will be made available to homes and businesses starting on Monday, but officials said local fire chiefs and electricians must first certify that the devices can be operated safely in each of the homes before they can be used. For homes where space heaters are not an option, "alternative home heating options'' will be explored.

"Safety will be paramount," said Albanese.

"I'm not crazy about a space heater, but I mean, if it's going to help," said Joan Mejia of Lawrence.

Mejia also says he's sick of going to the gym to shower, and he has many questions for Columbia Gas that he says he can't get answered.

"Are my pipes going to freeze? Am I going to have to leave my house again? That type of stuff," he explained.

The governor said members of the Massachusetts National Guard have been activated to assist with the distribution of the hotplates and heaters.

As many as 2,000 natural gas meters could be turned back on within a couple of weeks, according to officials, and the utility hopes to have nearly 200 crews working on the ground by early October.

Joe Hamrock, the CEO of Columbia Gas' parent company, NiSource Inc., said the company on Wednesday would begin deploying teams to homes and businesses to determine if any damaged appliances need to be replaced before gas can be safely restored.

"We owe it to this community to make sure everyone's needs are addressed," he said.

Meanwhile, a claims center remains open for Andover, North Andover and Lawrence residents where customers can file loss and damage claims as well as receive gift cards to cover the costs of food for the week.

Columbia Gas will hold a job fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Greater Lawrence Technical School at 57 River Road in Andover. The gas company is seeking plumbers, electricians, customer service representatives and IT professionals interested in working on the restoration process.

The investigation into the explosions is ongoing. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is looking into work that was underway at a Columbia Gas site at Winthrop and South Union streets in Lawrence.

The agency said it discovered evidence that pressure sensors had been attached to a gas line that was being taken out of service on the day of the explosions. While the agency has not identified this as the cause, they explained that the sensors are used to indicate when gas is low and more is needed.

Feeney Brothers Utility Services of Dorchester was one of two subcontractors used by Columbia Gas in Lawrence, according to the city's Public Works Department.

The company issued a statement Friday confirming that one of its crews was working at the direction of Columbia Gas on a low-pressure to low-pressure gas main tie-in at the intersection of South Union and Salem streets on the day of the gas explosions.

Feeney Brothers said it is assisting with the NTSB's investigation and four of its crew members have been interviewed by the agency.

"While the investigation will take time, we have no doubt that Feeney’s crew will be found to have done their work professionally, safely and correctly. We stand by our crew and all our workers," the company said in its statement.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren planned to meet with Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera later Friday to discuss recovery efforts before attending a cookout for affected residents being hosted by the Lawrence Housing Authority.

Warren and the state's other U.S. senator, Democrat Edward Markey, wrote to utility officials earlier this week that the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration had determined that the pressure in gas pipelines prior to the explosions and fires was 12 times higher than it should have been.

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<![CDATA[10 New Cases of West Nile Virus Reported in Bay State]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 07:58:07 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/mosquito-west-nile-zika-virus.jpg

Public health officials have announced 10 new human cases of West Nile virus, bringing to 24 the number of human cases acquired in Massachusetts this year.

The newest reported cases are predominantly among older individuals.

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said Friday that the state has seen four times as many cases compared to last year. She said even with the start of fall and cooler temperatures, mosquito season isn't over. It's not unusual to see people infected in October.

West Nile Virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While it can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected have no symptoms.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most effective method to prevent West Nile infection is to wear insect repellent, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and take steps to control osquitoes indoors and outdoors, including emptying stagnant water in planters, birdbaths, and trash containers.

Symptoms can include fever and flu-like illness but while people older than 60 years old are at greater risk, severe illness can occur in people of any age. Those with the highest medical risk are those with medical conditions that include cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and who have received organ transplants. The CDC reports one in 10 people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.

The latest Massachusetts statistics are a marked increase over previous years. Last year, there were six reported cases in the Bay State and 17 in 2016. In 2012, Massachusetts reported 33 cases, its greatest number of cases in a single year, since data collection began in 1999.

Associated Press reports contributed to this story.



Photo Credit: Alice Barr]]>
<![CDATA[Jogger Struck, Killed by Car in Westford]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:10:24 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Police+Lights+Generic+NBC4_15.jpg

Police said a jogger was struck by a car and killed last night in Westford.

The incident was reported at about 9 p.m. as police responded to a report of an accident on Route 110 in the area of Technology Park Drive.

The jogger, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was struck by a Toyota Highlander.

Police identified the driver as a Westford man in his 40s. Officials said the driver remained at the scene after the jogger was struck.

No charges have been filed in connection with the investigation, according to police.

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office, Westford police, and the Massachusetts State Police are investigating the accident. Police said the jogger's identity will be released pending notification of family.

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<![CDATA[Sunny, Mild Today Before Temps Dip Tonight]]> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 08:07:54 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/09222018-wxam.jpg

A gusty southerly wind last night is shifting to northwest and diminishing rapidly this morning.

We have a cold front, with most overnight showers evaporating near the coast early. As the front weakens and moves off Southern New England coast, clouds will give way to more sunshine.

Wind from the northwest allows cooler air to flow in. Temperatures may start near 70 in Southern New England Saturday, but we’ll then drop into the 60s. Autumn officially begins with the Autumnal Equinox at 9:54 PM tonight.

Tomorrow brings partly cloudy skies and highs in the 60s. Monday will be even cooler, with a chilly morning and a cool afternoon. Highs will be in the 50s and 60s. Temperatures recover, back into the 60s and 70s, during the middle of next week along with rain and warmer air.



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Hit in Westford]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:46:15 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Westford+092118.JPG

A pedestrian was hit by a vehicle Friday night in Westford, Massachusetts.

State and local police responded to the area of Park Drive, where a small SUV hit a person.

There was no immediate word on the victim's injuries.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Trapped as Burglar Broke Into Home]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:36:58 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Teen_Trapped_as_Burglar_Broke_Into_Home.jpg

Police in Walpole, Massachusetts, converged on Woodard Road Friday evening using K9s to search for a suspect moments after a break-in.

The homeowner says his teenage daughter was home alone when she heard a strange noise and then the family dog started barking, spooking a stranger, who yelled out an expletive and took off.

The girl then ran to a neighbor's home for help.

"The young girl from across the street, came over and said somebody had walked into their home when she was home," said the neighbor, Bob Knight. "The door was unlocked, and she heard footsteps and a man's voice mumbling."

The teen stayed quiet until the suspect left.

"She heard the steps go out of the house," said Knight. "She took the dog and left the house and came over to me."

This is just the latest in a series of break-ins in Walpole this month.

"It's a little nerve-wracking," said another neighbor, Fran Cacciagrani. "Because you're home alone here and there, you don't want to have someone home at all times ... I certainly don't want any of my things taken."

A number of the crimes took place around Labor Day.

One suspect was captured on surveillance video before making off with several gold rings.

Police say there were similar break-ins in nearby Sharon around the same time.

In the Woodard Road incident, the suspect got away.

"It's very scary," said neighbor Dick Cacciagrani. "We're not sure what to make of it, hopefully police will be able to catch whatever person caused this commotion."

It's unknown if the same person is responsible for any or all of the other break-ins.

Residents are being told to call police if they see anything suspicious in their neighborhoods.

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<![CDATA[Before Explosions, Feds Warned Mass. Had Too Few Inspectors]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:33:47 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Inspectors+pic+092118.JPG

The state agency charged with ensuring the safety of Massachusetts' natural gas system had only a fraction of its inspector positions filled just last month, a staffing deficit that could delay required pipeline and utility audits, a newly-released federal report said.

The report raised alarms just days before explosions and fires rocked the Merrimack Valley, killing one, injuring about two dozen and displacing thousands.

"Without enough inspectors, you might miss something. I think the whole point of having inspectors is to actually catch things before they become catastrophic failures," said state Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), who has written bills for tighter state regulation of gas infrastructure.

Federal investigators from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration visited the state Department of Public Utilities, the agency responsible for overseeing the 20,000 miles of natural gas pipelines buried under Massachusetts, in late August to wrap up an annual evaluation of the state's safety program.

The report, just released this month, stunned some gas safety experts, including Ehrlich and Bob Ackley, an expert and consultant. He pointed to replacement workers at National Grid, filling in for the union employees that have been locked out all summer, as an extra reason state oversight is critical.

"We have safety issues all over the state," Ackley said. "We've got contractors working all over the state. We've got National Grid in a lockout with contractors running around all over the place."

The federal report noted that, "Due to recent inspector attrition, only three qualified inspectors on staff (sic)."

"At the time of this evaluation only two inspectors are available to perform inspections," it continued.

The report determined that all of last year's inspections happened on schedule, but the feds raised concerns that because of understaffing, "The program will likely have to make some risk based decisions" in the future "that could delay safety reviews."

It is unclear whether any direct line can be drawn between understaffing and last week's explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators point to over-pressurization of a distribution pipeline in Lawrence, and they are looking at a subcontractor's role in a pipeline replacement project there.

"A lot of people refer to this as the Black Swan event: low probability, high consequence," Ackley said.

The federal report noted that the target number of inspectors for the safety program is 10, but again they noted DPU at the time had "only the three qualified inspectors, two more had been hired and a job offer had been made to one more."

"If you don't have enough inspectors to cover the territory then you're apt to miss things which can lead to loss of life," Ehrlich said.

"It wasn't a systemic failure of some kind, it was related to a particular event attached to a particular project," Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters after an event in Lawrence on Tuesday.

After the federal visit, the state scrambled to hire inspectors. Baker said the agency now has eight inspectors on staff and is looking to hire more.

When the NBC10 Boston Investigators pushed a DPU spokesman for more detail, he conceded only six are currently certified to conduct inspections, and he did not answer questions about whether they are actually out inspecting pipelines.

"We need to have an adequate number of trained inspectors on the job to make sure that things are being done right. We depend on them to keep us safe," Ehrlich said.

All utilities have their own inspectors. The DPU inspectors' job is to make sure the companies are following proper procedures and to address any violations.

Rather than showing up to inspect work sites and infrastructure the way a health inspector might go to a restaurant, DPU pipeline inspectors audit the voluminous reports utilities are required to file with the state to ensure utilities are conducting their own inspections and following state regulations, and they follow up on complaints.

They typically do not sign off on individual jobs.

DPU scored very well on its evaluation, but got dinged for overall program performance.

Requests to sit down with the director of DPU or any of the agency's three commissioners did not receive any response.

When NBC10 Boston tried to talk with the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs after a press conference Friday, a spokesman for Baker told a reporter to wait, but later came back to say the secretary had ducked out another way.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Why MIT Students Are Living in a Box This Weekend]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 19:19:19 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/MIT+Glass+Box.jpg

Five MIT students are working around the clock to innovate solutions to a problem.

While they may be thinking outside the box, they're working, eating and sleeping inside a glass box on MIT's campus.

"We decided to do this crazy event, like, we're going to place glass cubes, open the doors to innovation, put bright minds into a box, you give them a challenge and see what comes out," said MIT masters student Signe Lin Vehusheia, who's helping to oversee the project.

It's part of the second annual global "hack-a-thon" called "InCube."

MIT's is the first cube in the U.S. – partnering with Michigan-based medical technology company Stryker to solve a problem.

"We collectively thought about a problem, an unmet need that we could solve together, and that was to reimagine the ambulance of the future," said Bijoy Sagar of Stryker.

So while the students are tasked with trying to figure out a more efficient and effective way for ambulances to operate to try to improve survivability for people in need of emergency care, they can solicit ideas from MIT students, professors and even medical professionals.

"I think it's a great opportunity, especially they can get the feedback of people passing by," said Pam Difraia of MIT's Koch Institute.

"It seems like a very MIT thing to do," added freshman Holly Jackson.

"It's pretty crazy. I think it's awesome," Heather Huckins of the Koch Institute said. "It's a different way of trying to get together to figure out something."

And it could lead to real-world solutions outside the cube.

"I'm really excited to find out what they come up with and maybe some of those ideas will go into our products and our services and we can then work with healthcare providers to make this a better outcome for the patient," Sagar said.

The students will be in the cube until about noon on Monday, when they will present their ideas to the judges and a winner will be announced.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[New Englanders Remember 1938 Hurricane]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:52:19 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/1938+Hurricane+in+Vermont.JPG

New Englanders are remembering the killer storm known as the Great Hurricane of 1938, 80 years to the date after its devastation.

“We just hadn’t ever seen anything like it,” recalled Richard Hamilton, 96, who remembers uprooted trees, blocked roads, and property losses in Brattleboro, Vermont. “It was severe winds that brought such destruction.”

Near Boston, data from the Blue Hills Observatory showed sustained winds topping 120 miles per hour, with a gust of 186 miles per hour.

New London, Connecticut saw catastrophic fires from downed power lines, according to the National Weather Service, and downtown Providence, Rhode Island was left underwater after a storm tide of 20 feet.

There was even a frantic race to save the Vermont State House in Montpelier, curator David Schutz said.

“It nearly lifted the dome off the top of the building,” Schutz said last week when giving a tour of the dome. “So for the very first time, they took efforts to tie the dome to the building–physically tie it down.”

Numbers from the National Weather Service showed hundreds were killed across the northeast, with nearly 9,000 homes and buildings ruined, and many more damaged.

The company AIR Worldwide, which creates models of catastrophes, estimated that if the same storm were to hit today, it would bring a $50-billion impact.

“It scared me half to death,” remembered Lorna Maloney, who was 5-years-old when the hurricane hit New England.

Maloney and her older sister, Gloria Goulet, who is now 88, said in the era before TV meteorologists, they did not have any warning about the danger coming their way in the small town of Washington, Vermont.

“Our radio didn’t come in half the time—we didn’t have a telephone,” Goulet remembered, adding that in the days after the storm, she saw severe wind damage that was stunning to a small child.

At the Vermont Historical Society in Barre, executive director Steve Perkins called the ’38 hurricane a “defining event” for New England.

Perkins said neighbors helped neighbors clean up, towns rebuilt, and vowed to get stronger–for all the storms to come.

“Communities came together,” Perkins said of the aftermath of the storm. “I think it’s horrible that we have [devastating storms], but reflecting on them, we can think about what it means to be a Vermonter—or a New Englander.”

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<![CDATA[Belichick, Brady Speak on Acquisition of Josh Gordon]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:36:50 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/184*120/Brady+Presser.PNG

Speaking with the media for the first time since Wednesday morning -- prior to the trade for Josh Gordon being 100 percent official -- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick finally acknowledged the presence of the 27-year-old former Cleveland Brown in Foxboro on Friday morning.

Gordon wasn't the only player added to the roster since Wednesday. New England also welcomed back Cyrus Jones, its second-round pick in 2016, after a brief stint on the practice squad of the Baltimore Ravens.

"It's good to get them here," Belichick said. "I'd say really in both cases, those two guys have done about as much as they can do in the few days that they've been here, or been back in Cyrus' case. We'll see how it goes. I think Josh is a smart kid. He's worked hard. He's picked up a lot and Cyrus has gotten back into things quickly, so we'll see how it goes."

Even though the team had already officially added Gordon to its roster and the trade was on the NFL's official transaction wire, Belichick refused to discuss Gordon on Wednesday prior to New England's practice that day. Sure enough, he was present for the afternoon session, donning a new No. 10 jersey.

Belichick declined to comment on how he would monitor Gordon's overall health given his lengthy history of substance abuse. Gordon's troubles with addiction played a role in him missing 11 out of a possible 66 games for the Browns between the start of the 2014 season and the first two weeks of 2018.

Gordon has been limited with a hamstring injury during his first week with the Patriots. He didn't play in Cleveland's Week 2 game vs. the New Orleans Saints thanks in part to the injury, although reports swirled that weekend that he'd finally run out of chances with the Browns and the team was actively shopping him.

He's in New England now, sharing a locker adjacent to Tom Brady's.

"I try to get along with everybody," Brady said of the locker placement at his Friday afternoon press conference. "Even if you're next to me or across or down or defense, I think it's just important to try and get to know everybody in any way you possibly can. We're all here to try and do the same thing."

The Patriots are on the road this weekend, playing the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. The game will be televised on NBC10 Boston.

Detroit is where Brady made his NFL debut on Nov. 23, 2000. He finished 1 for 3 passing, his lone completion going to Rod Rutledge, in relief of Drew Bledsoe in a 34-9 Patriots loss. As a starter, however, Brady is 4-0 vs. the Lions.

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<![CDATA[Legionnaires' Disease Case Diagnosed at VA Boston]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:24:56 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Another_Case_of_Legionnaires__Confirmed_in_Hampton.jpg

The VA Boston Healthcare System says one of its inpatients has been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

"VA Boston has diagnosed one of its inpatients with LD and is following strict protocols to learn whether this patient contracted LD while in the hospital," the VA Boston HealthCare System said in a statement.

They said they are tracing the patient's movements within the hospital and testing the water for the bacteria at each of those locations.

"We working to test any potential water source in the patient's past along our VA system to see if there's a presence of Legionella within that source," said Dr. Katherine Linsenmeyer, Associate Chief Epidemiologist with the VA Boston HealthCare System.

The test results could take seven to 14 days to return, and in the meantime, staff are supporting the patient and working to find the source of the bacteria.

The VA Boston Healthcare System includes the Jamaica Plain campus in Boston's Longwood Medical Community; the West Roxbury campus, located on the Dedham line; and the Brockton campus.

The VA did not release any information on the male patient but said he received services at West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Brockton.

Legionnaires' disease is bacterial pneumonia spread by inhaling droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria. Warm weather supports the growth of the Legionella bacteria that cause the illness.

 

Health officials said anytime there's a Legionnaires' case, it's concerning.
"You know, I think any time we have a case of LD, the last one was over five years ago, we definitely raise concern with it. I think we are working hard to mitigate it," said Linsenmeyer.

 

Health officials said anytime there's a Legionnaires' case, it's concerning.

"You know, I think any time we have a case of LD, the last one was over five years ago, we definitely raise concern with it. I think we are working hard to mitigate it," said Linsenmeyer.

Cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported in other parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire in recent months.

At Hampton Beach, multiple hot tub spas were closed as a precaution in August after one person died and 14 others had to be hospitalized with the illness.

Earlier this month in Lowell, four cases of Legionnaires were reported. Health officials said those cases were not related to the Hampton outbreak.

Nationally, there are more than 6,000 cases of Legionnaires' disease in an average year.

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<![CDATA[11-Year-Old in Lowell, Mass. Brings Gun to School]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:46:52 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/214*120/Bedford+High+School+Generic+School+Hallway.JPG

An 11-year-old boy brought a gun to a Lowell, Massachusetts middle school, according to reports.

The Lowell Sun reports that the Sullivan Middle School student showed off a .22 caliber gun to one of his classmates on Sept. 13. Later that evening, the gun was fired by a 14-year-old at Rotary Park in front of other minors.

An investigation is underway and no charges have been filed. Richardson said the 11-year-old’s mother was unaware the gun was inside their home and she will not be charged. The 14-year-old will be charged with juvenile delinquency to wit, discharging a firearm.

According to Massachusetts state law, the 11-year-old cannot face charges, even in juvenile court. This is a result of the recently passed criminal justice reform bill that raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from age seven to 12.

The search for the missing firearm continues as the cases against the juveniles accused of stealing it.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Red Sox Fan Dies Atop Train Leaving Yankee Stadium]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:53:55 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Michael+Vigeant.JPG

A Red Sox fan from Hudson, New Hampshire, was killed on Wednesday night while attempting to climb on top of a train on his way home from Yankee Stadium.

Michael Vigeant, 24, was electrocuted while trying to climb from inside a train car on the Metro-North train heading from Yankee Stadium to New Haven, Connecticut. Vigeant's brother Lenny, who also tried to climb on top of the train, was safely removed by train personnel.

"It all happened really quick," Lenny Vigeant told NBC10 Boston. "It was going from having a great time to the worst possible thing that could ever happen."

Vigeant touched a catenary wire, which is an overhead electrified wire, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials. Passengers on the train attempted CPR on Vigeant, who was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

"The train came to a stop, and after a while the conductor came through looking very nervous, asking if there were any doctors or nurses on board," New York Post senior writer Bob Fredericks, a passenger on the train, told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

"A woman who said she was a nurse went running past me. She was gone for about 40 minutes then came back looking pretty shaken, saying a man had climbed on top of the train and was electrocuted," Fredericks said.

Delays on the New Haven Line trains lasted nearly two hours according to some passengers. The incident occurred about half an hour after the train originally departed at 11 p.m. and the train didn't reach its final stop in New Haven until roughly 3:20 a.m.

"I felt like there was more I could do in the situation that I wasn’t able to do," Lenny Vigeant said.

The Vigeant family, now coming in from across the country, is left to grieve.

"I really can't even... I can't even adjust that he's not part of us anymore," said father Leonard Vigeant. "There's times we'll set the table and I'm sure there will be a plate for him."

The family said Vigeant had an adventurous, caring spirit that he showed even on his last night alive.

"There's no one that he ever had a difference with. Everyone just loved Mike," said Leonard Vigeant.

"He was getting heckled by a couple guys and they were pretty aggressive and Mike just looked at them and smiled and said, 'I love you, brother! I love you man,'" added Lenny Vigeant.

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<![CDATA[2 Whales Wash Ashore on Boston-Area Beaches]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 18:36:39 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/whales6.jpg

New England Aquarium officials are investigating after two whales washed up on Boston-area beaches on Friday morning.

New England Aquarium officials responded to Revere Beach on Friday morning after a whale washed ashore there. The approximately 35-foot juvenile humpback whale was found before 8 a.m.

"As soon as I got out of my car and looked at it, I was like, 'Wow, like I just can't believe it,'" said Melinda Ball of Chelsea.

Officials said it is the same marine animal that was first spotted floating in the waters near Gloucester shores two weeks ago.

The whale first washed up on a beach in Cohasset, where it was examined by a team from New England Aquarium. Afterwards, officials decided to tow it out to sea. Now they are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to decide on how to dispose of it.

A second whale was also found on Friday near Boston Light on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor.

The 50-foot adult, female humpback had its tail flukes wedged among the boulders ofa  rocky point that was only accessible at low tide. Aquarium biologists had trouble accessing it, but were able to take measurements and tissue samples and document the whale.

The whale carcass was quite bloated and appeared to be several days old, the aquarium said. There was no evidence of entanglement or open trauma from a vessel strike.

These are just the latest of several deceased whales that have washed ashore recently in Massachusetts. Officials say whale deaths have increased this year, but are unsure why.

Since January of 2016, the aquarium said more than 80 humpbacks have died along the East Coast, from the Carolinas to Maine. That's a rate of more than 30 deaths per year, compared to a previous five-year average of 12.



Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police/NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Spotty Showers Likely Due to Incoming Cold Front]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:38:39 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/206*120/092118+necn+afternoon+wx.jpg

A gusty southerly wind will garner attention on Friday, before a cool weekend settles in across New England.

A warm front lifting through New England Friday morning will bring showers to parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, while most other spots enjoy a mixture of sun and clouds.

High temperatures will pop close to 70 degrees during the day behind that front courtesy of the gusty wind. It will even feel a touch humid.

Wind gusts will reach 40 to 50 mph across parts of Northern New England with 30 to 40 mph gusts in Southern New England.

A cold front will then arrive tonight, bringing another line of showers, downpours and even thunderstorms to Northern New England after dark.

As the front slides into Southern New England, it will lose some of its punch, but a few spotty showers are still likely during the pre-dawn hours of Saturday around Boston.

As the front continues to depart Saturday, clouds will give way to more sunshine. Winds will turn out the northwest and will still be gusty allowing cooler air to flow in. Temperatures may start near 70 in Southern New England, but will then drop into the 60s.

Autumn officially begins at 9:54 p.m. Saturday.

Sunday brings partly cloudy skies and highs in the 60s.

Monday will be even cooler with a chilly morning and a cool afternoon. Highs will be in the 50s and 60s.

Temperatures recover back into the 60s and 70s during the middle of next week, but rain chances will also creep up at that point.

Interactive radar for snow, rain --

 

Extreme weather national gallery -


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<![CDATA[Winchester Library Stabbing Suspect Indicted by Grand Jury]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:51:33 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/216*120/yao2.jpg

A man accused of fatally stabbing a 22-year-old woman at a public library in Winchester, Massachusetts back in February has now been indicted for her murder.

Jeffrey Yao, 24, of Winchester, was indicted Thursday by a Middlesex Superior Court grand jury for the murder of Deane Kenny Stryker and the assault of a 77-year-old man who attempted to intervene at the Winchester Public Library.

On Feb. 24, Yao allegedly walked into the library and randomly attacked Stryker with a 10-inch hunting knife, stabbing her approximately 20 times in the head, neck and other extremities. He also allegedly slashed an elderly man who attempted to help the victim in the arm.

"Miss Stryker fell to the floor in the center of the room with the knife still in her back," a prosecutor said in court Friday. "The defendant, who was then unarmed, stepped away from Miss Stryker and put his hands in the air."

Stryker was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.

Yao is charged with murder, armed assault with intent to murder a person over the age of 60 and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over the age of 60. He has no prior criminal convictions. He pleaded not guilty in Middlesex Superior Court on Friday and was ordered held without bail.

His attorney, J.W. Carney, did not object. He said his client is schizophrenic and his parents tried unsuccessfully to get help for their son.

"That young girl did absolutely nothing to deserve what happened to her. A good Samaritan tried to come to her aid, he suffered a serious injury also," he said. "And the parents are absolutely devastated by that."

Yao's next court date is set for Oct. 22.

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<![CDATA[Firefighters Execute Special Rescue in Webster, Mass.]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 08:32:29 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Webster+Steel+Necklace.jpg

Firefighters in Webster, Massachusetts have been seen at fires, car accidents and all sorts of other rescue calls, but they found themselves in a unique situation on Thursday.

A woman showed up at a fire station in town with a steel necklace around her neck, one that she couldn't remove. That is, until Deputy Chief Chris Jolda and Captain Kevin Adams got to work.

Jolda had attended a class a few months ago presented by PL Vulcan dealing with such a specialized rescue, and within minutes, they were able to successfully remove the steel ring.


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<![CDATA[Officials Investigate Stabbing at Mass. Avenue Connector]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 07:16:22 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/siren-generic-3-cc.png

One person was stabbed at the Massachusetts Avenue connector early Friday, according to Boston police.

Officials received a call of a stabbing at 2:40 a.m. near Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. State police are investigating.

Details on what lead up to the stabbing were not immediately clear. The victim’s condition us unclear.

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<![CDATA[Students Rally for New Haven, Conn. Father Facing Deportation]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 06:52:35 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/NELSON-PINOS-RALLY-SEPT-20-2018.jpg

Hundreds of students in New Haven walked out of class and rallied in support of a father facing deportation Thursday.

They gathered outside the New Haven church where Nelson Pinos has sought refuge to avoid deportation for nearly a year.

“At first I got very emotional,” Pinos said. “I went back inside and I cried.”

Pinos sought sanctuary to avoid deportation to his native Ecuador. He told NBC Connecticut he came to the US in 1992 for a better life and has lived in Connecticut for nearly 20 years.

“I don’t wanna leave my family,” he said. “My kids are everything for me. Especially when you have two teenage girls, I think this is when they need me the most.”

One of the students who walked out of class in protest was Kelly Pinos, Nelson’s daughter.

“I feel very supported,” she said. “It makes me happy because I didn’t think that this many students would come out. It’s an amazing thing.”

The students marched from the church to City Hall and chanted.

“Deportation is a cruel violation of humanity,” said Yale student, Isaac Spanjer.

Immigration officials previously told NBC Connecticut that there is a removal order against Nelson Pinos, who they consider an immigration fugitive. 



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford DPW Employee Had Marijuana Grow Lab: Police]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 06:51:00 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Elton+Trader+and+marijuana+plants.jpg

A Hartford Department of Public Works employee has been placed on leave after police found a marijuana grow lab in his apartment, according to police. 

Hartford police said they learned about it when firefighters responded to a fire alarm in the 300 block of Main Street in Hartford Wednesday and contacted them. 

The resident, 58-year-old Elton Trader, of Hartford, admitted his involvement, according to the Hartford police report. 

Photos from police show several marijuana plants and equipment used to cultivate them. 

Trader was charged with cultivation of marijuana, operation of a drug factory, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. 

NBC Connecticut reached out to DPW and they did not comment. Fire officials said Trader is on administrative leave without pay. 

Trader appeared in court Thursday and his case has been continued to Sept. 28. 

NBC Connecticut reached out to Trader by phone and he did not comment.



Photo Credit: Hartford Police]]>
<![CDATA[1986 Killing of Mother in Hamden, Conn. Remains Unsolved]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 06:50:18 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Virginia-Duclos-Bruce.jpg

Hamden police continue to search for answers in the killing of a young mother in 1986.

Thursday night Hamden police posted online, asking the public for any information on the death of 28-year-old Virginia Duclos Bruce.

“We have not forgotten about Virginia,” the post read in part.

And neither has her family, which is devastated by the violent murder of Virginia more than three decades ago.

“She has a son and a daughter that don’t have a mother,” her sister, Carolyn Bird told NBC Connecticut.

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During a video chat from Rhode Island, Carolyn Bird remembered her sister who was brutally killed 32 years ago Thursday.

“She was a disco queen. She loved to dance. She played pool. She was a great mom, a wonderful sister,” Bird said.

On Sept. 20, 1986, Ginny – as she was known – disappeared while on a night out with friends at the Highwood Bar & Grill in Hamden. Authorities would later discover her body in a nearby dumpster off of Morse Street. She died after being stabbed multiple times.

Over the years, Hamden police interviewed scores of people and chased down leads. But as of now no one has been charged with the crime.

Tonight Ginny’s family wants justice and hopes someone who might know something comes forward.

“Maybe they won’t be afraid any more. Maybe they’ll say something,” Bird said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police. The state is offering a $20,000 reward for anyone who can help solve this case.



Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department
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<![CDATA[Norton Road Rage Stabbing Suspect Ordered Held Without Bail]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:44:33 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/215*120/norton21.jpg

A Massachusetts man accused of stabbing a driver during a road rage confrontation was ordered held without bail at his arraignment on Friday.

Alfred Pond, 49, of Attleboro, was arrested Thursday after he allegedly stabbed a 25-year-old man in the chest following a road rage confrontation in Norton.

In Attleboro District Court, prosecutors said that Pond admitted to stabbing the other driver who frantically made a 911 call moments after the encounter.

"I've never been stabbed before, so I'm freaking out," the victim can be heard saying on the recording.

"I'm keeping my hand and shirt over it," answered the victim, who has not been named. "Every time I let go, there's a lot of blood coming out."

The dispatcher asked the victim, "Do you have something you can keep over the wound?"

"I'm keeping my hand and shirt over it," answered the victim, who has not been named. "Every time I let go, there's a lot of blood coming out."

The victim called for help at approximately 3:30 p.m. and reported that he was stabbed following the confrontation on Plain Street. According to the victim, the two men engaged in road rage in Easton.

At one point, the victim asked the dispatcher to do him one favor.

"Do you guys mind staying with me in case I die," he asked.

The victim was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where he underwent surgery. He is listed in stable condition.

Pond was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

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<![CDATA[Incoming Cold Front Could Trigger Overnight Rain]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 04:45:26 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/206*120/092118+early+necn+am+ax.jpg

A warm front to the north Friday morning may generate showers for the first part of the day, but otherwise, we start off with a mix of sun and clouds, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s.

As the warm front lifts north into Canada, winds increase from the south, and really ramp up. Expect gusts 40 to 50 mph in parts of Northern New England, with 30 to 40 mph gusts in Southern New England.

There may be a spot shower in Northern New England as well, but the vast majority of the day will be dry as milder air flows in. Expect highs in the 70s with a somewhat muggy feel to the air.

A cold front then approaches at night, triggering a few more showers or even a storm overnight. The front will gradually depart tomorrow, so skies will brighten with time.

Cooler Canadian air will flow in during the day, capping highs in the 60s north. We’ll be closer to 70 south.

Autumn officially begins at 9:54 p.m. Saturday, meaning daylight and nighttime hours are almost equal this weekend. Cool and crisp air remains in place both Sunday and Monday with highs still in the 60s.

Rain chances increase once we reach Tuesday of next week. Temperatures also look to pop back into the 70s at that time.


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<![CDATA[What to Do About Robocalls]]> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 04:50:19 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Ridding_the_Robocalls.jpg

So far this year, more than 16 billion spam robocalls have pestered people across the country. So what's a person to do?

David Hunt has had it with the calls.

"I run a small business from my home," said Hunt. "It is imperative that I have phone access. I get robocalls beeping over actual customers."

He's complaining, and so are millions of other people sick of hearing telephone recordings. Incessant, unwanted, automated calls are the Federal Communications Commission's top consumer complaint and the top complaint to the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

"I get robocalls all the time," Healey said. "I get robocalls right to the office."

Healey says she is working with other attorneys general to stop criminal hackers.

"We want to protect consumers, but we need help from the federal government and the FCC, and we need help from the phone carriers and the technology platforms to change the technology to block some of this from happening," said Healey.

In July, an estimated 4 billion robocalls were made to U.S. phones. Not all robocalls are unwanted or illegal, but Healey says about one-third of them are fraudulent, and the criminals are getting savvier.

"Never give out private information, personal information, financial information to anyone," said Healey. "Some of these scam artists are so sophisticated they make it sound so real, and you just have to really have your guard up and assume that it's a scam."

How do you fight back?

 

  • If you don't recognize a number, let the call go to voicemail.
  • If you answer a robocall, don't respond in any way, just hang up.
  • Get on the state and federal do-not-call lists.
  • Ask your carrier about call-blocking services.
  • Install a call-blocking app on your mobile device.

 

Alex Quilici is the founder of Youmail, an app that foils robocallers and spam calls.

"We can look at the behavior of phone numbers, and get a very good, very quick idea if a number is behaving badly," said Quilici. "We are a downloadable app. It replaces your mobile voicemail. One of the things it does is it can greet the robocallers with 'This number is out of service,' which makes them go away."

But what about legitimate robocalls, like car recall notices?

Eric Troutman represents companies that use robocalls to relay information. He says the law pertaining to telephone communication needs to be updated.

"Congress needs to take another look at this issue please and pass a law that decides what is a robocall," said Troutman.

In June, Senator Ed Markey introduced the "Stopping Bad Robocalls" act in the Senate. The bill would direct the FCC to enact strong consumer protections for authorized calls and empower the FCC with strong enforcement tools.

Both the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission say they are working to stop illegal robocalls through tougher enforcement and increased penalties.

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<![CDATA[Boston Considers Forgiving Some Unpaid Property Taxes]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 21:30:59 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Boston_Considers_Forgiving_Some_Unpaid_Property_Taxes.jpg

Millions in unpaid property taxes in the city of Boston has led to a proposal that city leaders hope helps them collect the money.

Councilor Lydia Edwards has been working to craft a proposal that would give residents and commercial businesses who have fallen behind on their taxes up to five years, depending on the situation, to repay the money. It would also forgive 50 percent of the interest accrued for residents who can demonstrate they have experienced hardship.

"Property taxes are still going up. If it's a tool in the toolbox to help people stay in their homes, and also helps to reduce their tax burden, why wouldn't we do that?" asked Edwards, who spent Thursday in a work session to discuss the plan.

Including both recent and historic data, Boston is owed a total of $33 million in back taxes. According to Edwards, her proposal would help create a payment plan that is easier to meet, allowing the city to collect some of the money, at least, in a timely fashion. Under state law, cities can enact these kinds of plans, but they need to agree to opt into it first.

"All of this is up to our discretion, which I really like about this law," explained Edwards. "We want to stop displacement, and people can be displaced out of their homes due to owing taxes."

As taxes have increased over the years, more and more people have struggled to meet the annual cost.

"You're never going to be able to pay your current taxes if you can't catch up on the past taxes," said longtime resident Derrick Downey.

Decades ago, Downey's father bought their family home in Jamaica Plain. A few years ago, his brother sold it, allowing him to buy the top floor as a condo for approximately $400,000. While Downey paid for it outright, he slowly struggled to pay for the property taxes and fell behind.

"Kind of crazy, they can take your $400,000 house away for $15,000," Downey said. "Part of this was an investment, but a lot of it is sentimental."

That is why Edwards hopes to help more people hold onto their proprieties, while still keeping up with the costs.

"It helps someone feel some kind of dignity, and at the same time it helps us recoup some of that income," said Edwards.

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<![CDATA[Man Charged in Deadly Pedestrian Crash]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 20:46:23 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Belmont+082818.JPG

A Massachusetts man was charged Thursday in a crash that killed a pedestrian last month in Belmont.

The Middlesex County District Attorney's Office says 45-year-old Raymond O'Brien of Medford was charged with unlicensed operation in the Aug. 28 crash.

Authorities say O'Brien was driving a 2015 Ford Transit Van when he hit Sachi Thanawala, a 39-year-old Belmont woman, at the intersection of Lexington Street and Sycamore Street.

O'Brien remained on the scene.

Thanawala was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she died two days after the crash.

Investigators determined that O'Brien didn't have a valid driver's license, as his had expired in 2004.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Emergency Crews Recount Chaos of Merrimack Valley Explosions]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:41:14 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Residents_Line_up_for_Essentials_After_Gas_Explosions.jpg

One week after gas fires and explosions rocked the Merrimack Valley, first responders and residents in three Massachusetts communities are telling their stories about what they experienced. Meanwhile, some residents learned Thursday that their gas service may not be restored for several months.

Emergency crews were trying to help as many people as possible. At the Andover Police Department, the 911 calls started coming in late Thursday afternoon as dispatchers Katie Ramos and Melissa Kurkjian were about to leave for the day. First, they got a call about a fire at a restaurant and then a call for a house fire, which they said was unusual for Andover. When the calls did not stop after that, they knew something was wrong.

“I just remember looking around the room at one point and seeing every single phone we had light up and we had no idea why this was happening or what to tell the town besides to leave,” Ramos said.

Ramos and Kurkjian said the toughest part was figuring out which resources to send where when the need seemed to be everywhere.

“We had to prioritize and ask people do you see a flame or do you just smell the gas,” Kurkjian said. “We probably had 9 or 10 calls at the same time and you couldn’t get off the phone fast enough to answer the next call.”

Nancy Wright of Andover frantically dialed 911 after she and her husband, Brian, saw a fire in their neighbor's basement.

"I was scared to death," Brian Wright said. "I mean, it was bright, blazing. I said, 'It's going to go up like a tinderbox.'"

He ran next door to tell his neighbor, Shawn Harty. He was unable to find him immediately, and as the fire grew, so did Nancy's fear while she was talking to dispatch.

"I couldn't breathe. It sucked the air out of me. I went back outside, went in, started banging on doors, yelling 'Fire,'" he explained.

He finally found Harty, who had to get a fire extinguisher and use it. Fire officials say the quick actions may have saved the house.

Columbia Gas said Thursday that while gas service is being turned back on for customers who are not on the system impacted by the incident, restoration is expected to take several months for those on that system.

In North Andover, firefighters responded to 114 calls in an 8 hour period. They had 44 firefighters respond to what they have since confirmed was 33 fires. Lt. Michael Beirne responded to a half dozen of them.

“At one point, we’re crawling through a basement maze, past boilers that are spewing burning gas to reach a gas meter so we can shut it off and save a house. There was no hesitation,” Beirne said.

North Andover's Deputy Fire Chief Graham Rowe said it was the first time in his career he put out an all department callback, meaning all hands on deck. He said the mutual aid coming from as far away as Manchester, New Hampshire was a lifesaver. They had no civilian injuries in North Andover.

In Lawrence, they treated 13 patients at Lawrence General Hospital. Two of them were critical. The hospital had the gas turned off as a precaution and at one point ran on generator power due to the incident. Director of Emergency Services Kim Moriarty said the entire staff felt the duty to come in and help.

“I was blown away by the staff that rerouted themselves 20 times due to the road closures and the staff that didn’t know where their families were and were affected by the tragedy,” Moriarty said.

One week later they see the signs of appreciation amidst the devastation. Cards and donations are pouring into their departments as the public says thank you.

“We appreciate everything they do for us, that’s why we do what we do for them,” Rowe said.

As proud as they are of what they were able to do, many first responders said they will still study the response in the coming months to try and learn what they can do better.

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<![CDATA[Police: Man Who Urinated on Flags Now Facing Charges]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 18:00:31 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Search_for_Man_Accused_of_Desecrating_Flags_at_Cemetery.jpg

A Boston man is facing charges for allegedly urinating on four American flags at Somerville Veterans Memorial Cemetery earlier this month.

Michael C. Lacey, 31, is facing charges of defacement of an American veteran's grave marker, open and gross lewdness and disturbing the peace, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.

Somerville police confirmed that they have identified a suspect and sought felony charges in Somerville District Court, and that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

They said the suspect is currently in Rhode Island and they are working to have him extradited so he can face charges in Massachusetts.

The incident allegedly occurred on Sept. 10 and was captured by George Gatteny, who posted photos of the flags, Lacey, and a woman he was with on Facebook afterward. 

Police also released a photo of the male person of interest, asking for help identifying him.

Gatteny told NBC10 Boston he was sitting in traffic on Broadway in Somerville when he saw a man pull four miniature American flags from the ground with a woman acting as a lookout.

"Never imagined what I was about to see," Gatteny said.

He said the man then threw the flags behind a statue and urinated on them.

When he got out of his car and confronted the pair, Gatteny said they fled the area.

"They were walking, talking, as if nothing happened," said Gatteny.

According to Somerville Veterans Services, the cemetery contains remains of soldiers killed in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the 1983 Beirut bombing.


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<![CDATA[Family of Dog Who Died in NH Groomer's Care Speak Out]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 18:26:07 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Teddy+the+dog.jpg

The family of a dog who died while in the care of a New Hampshire dog groomer is speaking out about the horrific tragedy.

Beth Bessemer, 57, owner of Mrs. Doolittle’s Bath House in Hampton, turned herself in to police Wednesday and was charged with animal cruelty.

Police said Bessemer allowed a simple haircut to go terribly wrong.

"Teddy was just so special," said Joanne Schwope of North Hampton.

Schwope says her five-year-old golden retriever was so much more than just a pet.

"He was a truly beloved member of our family and we truly, truly miss him," Schwope said.

On June 21, Schwope dropped Teddy off at Mrs. Doolittle’s Bath House to be groomed. When she returned to pick him up, Bessemer told her Teddy had died.

"I just kind of went into shock at that point, I don't remember a lot after that," she said.

Once Schwope's vet finished the necropsy and gave her the results, she filed a police report.

"Teddy died of heat stroke," Schwope said.

On Wednesday, Hampton Police charged Bessemer with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

"We're not claiming it was a purposeful act, we're saying it was a negligent act," said Hampton Police Sgt. Alex Reno.

He said Bessemer allegedly put Teddy in a crate, tied a noose around his neck to hold him in place, pointed a heated dryer at him, and then left the dog alone.

"It's pretty hard, I know he suffered, and that breaks my heart," Schwope said through tears.

Bessemer's business was locked, dark, and mostly empty on Thursday.

As for Teddy’s family, they hope his story is a cautionary tale, one that will save another family from what they call unnecessary heartbreak.

"For people to just be aware, ask questions ask to see where their pet is going to be," Schwope said. "Don't take anything for granted, because I did, and that was my biggest regret."

Through all of this, Schwope learned there is no licensing requirement for groomers in New Hampshire. Now, her family is on a mission to change that – in honor of Teddy.

"If you brought your child to daycare you’d expect a certain standard," she said. "To me, they're no different and they don’t have a voice."

Bessemer was released on her own recognizance and is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 30 in the 10th Circuit- Seabrook District Court. She has been prohibited from contact with other people's pets as part of the conditions of bail.

It's unclear if Bessemer has an attorney.

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