Framingham, MA – Cut Gas Line Triggered Explosion

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., The – Two years ago, a gas explosion triggered by a construction crew destroyed a house owned by Valerie and Robert Graham, and today, they’re still fighting to rebuild.

NewsCenter 5’s Janet Wu reported that the Grahams and their daughter were blown out of their Framingham home May 24, 2002, after a backhoe operated by gas company NSTAR hit a gas line while installing a new line.

Robert Graham had a message for NSTAR Tuesday.

“Your negligence caused this accident. We were in our house, not bothering anyone. Your workers that you hired pulled the gas line away from the house and caused this explosion of fire. I don’t think it is too much to ask from them to replace our home,” he said.

The Grahams spent most of the last two years negotiating with their insurance company. The family received a settlement earlier this year that they say is $200,000 short of what’s needed to rebuild and replace their bare necessities. Earlier this month, the Graham’s finally demolished their home, but had to cash in their retirement savings to pay for expenses.

“NSTAR was there that day and a number of their employees, including their vice president, came up to us and said, ‘We will take care of you,’ and acknowledged the fact that this was their fault,” said Valerie Graham.

But the Graham’s attorney accused NSTAR of not being the good corporate citizen they claim to be.

“Since the cameras, the microphones and reporters have disappeared, NSTAR has grown silent. In fact, NSTAR has refused to communicate with us as attorney from Mr. and Mrs. Graham,” said attorney Denzil McKenzie.

NSTAR refused an on-camera interview with Wu, but NSTAR spokeswoman Christina McKenna released a statement that read in, part, “There is a process underway. Admittedly, it is a painstakingly slow process, but we are committed to working with them.”

“At this point, they have not said a word to us,” said Robert Graham.

Last month, the Grahams sent another letter to NSTAR, and by law, NSTAR must make a good faith response within 30 days.

The spokeswoman for NSTAR said Tuesday afternoon that, “this clearly is a difficult time for the family” and that they have every intention of responding to the letter by the end of next week.