Jan 13, 2016 2:29 PM

Keene bills Liberty Utilities $50K for emergency response to gas problem in December


KEENE - Liberty Utilities is looking at a bill for almost $50,000 from the city for its emergency response to a gas problem back in December.

According to the Keene Sentinel, the city's finance director sent a bill for $49,436 to cover the cost of the city's emergency response after a problem developed with the gas mixture sent out to customers from the Liberty Utilities distribution center on Emerald Street.

The problem led to calls throughout the day from people who reported smelling gas. While there was not a gas leak as people had feared, there was an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from the altered mixture.

Four people were treated and released from Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

First responders spent 15 hours answering more than 100 calls from local residents and knocking on the doors of the 1,250 Liberty Utilities customers in the downtown area. Firefighters and ambulance personnel from across New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts came to Keene to assist.

John Shore, a spokesman for Liberty Utilities, said he wasn’t sure how the bill would be paid and whether the expense would be passed on to customers. Shore said the company will figure out the best course of action once it receives the bill.

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