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City aided Hyde Park couple who lost home in blast, official says

Posted by Metro Desk  February 4, 2011 08:08 PM

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The director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said today the city has done all it can to help a Hyde Park couple who lost their home in a gas explosion in November.

Jay Walsh said he acted as a liaison between the homeowners and several city agencies and private companies, starting in the immediate aftermath of the accident and continuing right up to this week.

Walsh responded to a Globe story concerning the challenges that Michael Burns and Bob Houser faced in rebuilding their lives since a cracked seal on a natural gas line caused their home on Reynold Road in the Readville section to explode.

Walsh has helped them improve communication with the demolition company, cancel their cable television contract, and request a tax abatement on the property, among other tasks, and they’ve thanked him for the assistance, he said.

“All along, we’ve been available to help them with anything that they would need,” Walsh said.

He said the city had been unable to direct the recovery and demolition efforts because Burns and Houser had entered into an agreement with Action Emergency Services just after the blast.

Walsh also stressed that Boston Water and Sewer Commission, which hired the Dracut-based Defelice Corp. to replace the pipes under the streets, is a quasi-independent agency with its own board and management structure.

"The City of Boston itself is not concerned about any type of liability,'' he said. "We’re there to be a resource for Mr. Houser and Mr. Burns and to help them in any way humanly possible.”

Houser said he and Burns don’t hold the city responsible, and are awaiting the results of a state investigation to determine fault in the blast. They appreciate the ample help the city has given them, he said, but ultimately the victims in situations like this are left with the heaviest burden.

“The reality is that it’s in the property owners’ hands,” he said.

Originally published on the blog MetroDesk.

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