Response at scene of explosion/ Credit: Needham Observer

Ted Pierce said he was puttering in the basement of his home at the corner of Eaton Road and Harris Avenue shortly before 8 a.m. “I heard a boom. It was pretty loud. I initially thought it was a car accident.”

Pierce said the noise woke up others in his household, and they all soon heard multiple sirens as fire and police vehicles responded to what turned out to be a gas explosion on Prince Street, two streets away. 

Pierce said he didn’t walk over to  the scene until 8:30 or so, where he found emergency response vehicles from multiple communities as well as numerous bystanders.

All those present offered similar descriptions of the initial aftermath and response: an abundance of smoke, the absence of flames and a virtual army of first responders and Eversource personnel. 

In addition to concerned residents, the incident attracted individuals who are encouraged, not discouraged, to head toward and not away from possible danger. For some, this was a business opportunity.

Carmine Capachietti is a veteran sales specialist for Action Emergency Services, a provider of a range of post-emergency services required at damaged properties. “I see some of my competitors here,” he noted.

“We all go to fires and explosions of buildings,” he said. “We do board-ups and demos and takedowns. We do a lot of work like this.”

Asked if gas explosions are a fertile source of business, he said, “They seem to be more common in the last 20 years than they’ve ever been before.”

Capachietti explained the immediate post-emergency period can require a quick response for fencing or boarding up of damaged homes or other buildings. Being on scene may be an opportunity to provide the required rapid response.

Having assessed the damaged home from multiple viewpoints by late morning, Capachietti was reasonably sure he was looking at a future demolition, possibly later in the day.

“It’s very unstable,” he said. “It looks like it has severe damage to the base and the foundation.”

By mid-afternoon the house indeed had been reduced to rubble, but Action Emergency Services did not get the job. The work was done by a crew from a local contractor, G.D. McCarthy.

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