A New Hampshire developer is playing a huge part in the Merrimack Valley gas line restoration project.
Joe Faro is offering up 40 acres of land in Salem to stage and feed the thousands of workers pouring into the region from across the country.
The land, across from the Rockingham Mall, will eventually become Tuscan Village, complete with restaurants, hotels, shops and apartments. But right now, it's where thousands of gas employees start and end their workdays.
"They need a place to put dirt, they need a place to put piping," explained Faro.
The explosions that rocked the Merrimack Valley three weeks ago hit close to home for Faro, who grew up in Lawrence.
"The day it happened, it was frightening," he told NBC10 Boston Wednesday.
When he got the call from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker last week, he jumped at the chance to help his hometown.
"They said, 'We have a major relief effort, but we don't have a site big enough to orchestrate it,'" Faro said. "It was serendipitous."
Faro stopped work on about 40 acres, offering them up as a sort of base camp for the restoration project.
"It's humbling, honestly," Faro said. "We are fortunate to be working on a site this large to accommodate this need."
And as the head of Tuscan restaurants, he's also proud to be giving gas workers a true Italian lunch break whenever they need it.
"If this place is donating any kind of food, it's just awesome," said Tuscan customer Dale DeLuca.
Portsmouth resident Janice Anthes agreed.
"I think it's great that he is willing to delay his plans to help the community," she said.
But Faro considers it a small gesture, passing off the praise to the men and women working to restore 50 miles of pipeline before winter.
"These folks are working seven days a week, 14 hours a day, it's unlike anything I've ever seen," Faro said.
The project is expected to last until Thanksgiving.
Faro says the crews can have the lot as long as they need it.
When they move out, Faro will move forward with his plans for a 2.8-million-square-foot, multi-use property.