Natural gas industry faces new test after Merrimack Valley fires

Crews worked at a staging area after Thursday’s gas explosions and fires. –David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Could New England’s natural gas industry be facing its Fukushima Moment?

No one wants to play down Thursday’s tragedy: a teen lost his life, dozens of people were injured, and many homes were destroyed.

But the explosions and fires that turned three Merrimack Valley communities into scenes of chaos have already prompted some in the gas industry to wonder about the politics when it comes time to seek approvals for expansion projects, big and small. Meanwhile, opponents were busy hunting for whatever information they could to add to their arguments.