Fitchburg business owner tries to salvage store
FITCHBURG, Mass. (WHDH) -- The owner of a Fitchburg business tried to salvage what he could from what used to be his auto parts store.
“You lose your whole life in one boom,” said Nancy Tate, owner of the store.
John and Nancy Tate’s livelihood was gone in a flash when a natural gas leak near the store blew it to bits. John Tate was inside with a customer, but how they got out is not what he is focused on.
“The next step they’re finding out if we can get in there and maybe salvaging some of this stuff and storing it somewhere and then getting the building sealed up before this big storm that’s supposed to be coming in is coming in,” said John Tate.
Tate is afraid the roof of the building will collapse from the weight of the snow.
Unitil, the utility company responsible for the gas leak, doesn’t want it to happen again.
“We made the area safe last night. We want to make sure it stays that way. That’s why we are doing the leak survey work here. We are also doing a sweep of all our gas lines in the city just to be safe,” said Alec O’Meara of Unitil.
Investigators say they still haven’t figured out what caused the leak, but know it was an old line that had been capped years ago.
“Gas under pressure naturally follows the path of least resistance followed the pipe line into the building and met up with an ignition source,” said Deputy Chief Brian Belliveau of the Fitchburg fire department.
The line that caused the explosion has been repaired. Workers remained on the scene 24 hours after the blast.
The blast could have been worse if it happened at a different time of day.
“He got in the ambulance and he called me. I was glad just to hear his voice. I didn’t know if he was alive or dead,” said Nancy Tate.
The auto parts shop, along with surrounding buildings, will work to board up in preparation for Friday’s storm.