In Lawrence on Sunday, people are finally back in their homes after a series of gas fires and explosions in the Merrimack Valley. Residents are trying to get back to life as usual: cleaning out fridges where food has spoiled after days without power, talking to their neighbors, and letting their kids play outside in the unseasonably hot weather.

The anxiety though, is hard to shake, says Jeanne Zahn, a neighbor of the Chickering Road family whose house exploded last week, killing an 18-year-old in their driveway.

"It's just like, do we want to have gas any more?" Zahn said she has found herself wondering, as she returns to her home with a mixture of relief and trepidation. "You know, everything ... my gas stove ... my gas hot water tank ... It's very scary. It's like, do you change? Do you find another mode of energy?"

Zahn says she and her son first became alarmed last Thursday afternoon when they realized the gas fireplace had turned on by itself. Then, they smelled gas. Next thing they knew, they heard the explosion down the street.

"It was sheer hell," Zahn said of the scene around the corner. "We just left with the clothes on our back."

Her son managed to turn off their gas, and she says, had he not, she doesn't think her house would still be there today.

Mike Grenier wasn't home during the explosion, but his wife, daughter, and 4-year-old grandson were.

"They felt the explosion in their chest," he says, adding that the trauma is perhaps the hardest part for his family. "Especially a 4-and-a-half-year-old kid. I don't know how long that's gonna stick with him."

The electricity is back on here, but officials say it could be days or weeks before the gas is turned back on — and, they stress, people should not try to turn it back on themselves.