Moving Day!


On Friday we will be moving from our current office, to behind the gas station, which is the former location of Gagnon’s Welding Co. We welcome anyone to stop by and check out the new place! We also apologize, as around noon tomorrow, we’ll be bringing all our computers and whatnot into the new building, and may briefly not be able to check out your accounts in depth. We’ll do our best to make everything completely seamless.

Essex, Hamilton, Wenham and Manchester Fire Depts. Learn Propane Safety

From the Gloucester Times-

Propane practice: Local firefighters train to tackle gas conflagration

By Mike Springer Staff Photographer

ESSEX — Flames shot as high as 20 feet into the air.

Sometimes it was difficult to see if the vapor was still flaming under the water spray, especially in bright daylight. For safety there were two-man teams with extra hoses on either side, ready to spray more water if necessary.

The firefighters were battling propane fires last Thursday evening, a training exercise at the Department of Public Works yard and Transfer Station on Landing Road. It was organized by the Peabody-based Holden Oil Co., which has a 90,000-gallon propane storage plant in Essex.

Twenty-four Essex firefighters took part in the exercise under the direction of Chief Daniel Doucette.

They were joined by two Manchester firefighters — Rose Bradley and Michael Cupoli — and about a dozen more from the Hamilton and Wenham departments.

The instructor was former Peabody Deputy Fire Chief Jim Coughlin, who retired in 2010 after 30 years with the department. He was assisted in handling the propane and lighting the fires by Holden Oil employee Mark L’Abbe of Magnolia.

Propane is a liquefied petroleum gas.

Four 100-pound (24-gallon) cylinders of propane were used in the training. Those are about five times the size of the average barbecue grill bottle, but smaller than many of the tanks used in commercial buildings, which can be 1,000 pounds or more.

Two of the cylinders were placed standing up, which is the proper way to store them. (The fuel in the cylinders is liquified under pressure, with gas rising to the top.) Two more cylinders were placed on their sides. Although propane boils at minus 41 degrees F and immediately becomes vapor, the fuel in a horizontal cylinder emerges from the valve as a liquid and thus behaves a little differently than the vapor shooting out of a vertical cylinder. The idea was to give the firefighters experience dealing with various configurations.

In the exercise, two teams of about four or five firefighters were assigned to a pair of parallel hoses. When the cylinders were lit and the signal was given, the two teams began spraying water on the fire and advancing toward the cylinders slowly.

In addition to learning how to put various kinds of propane fires out, the firefighters were taught about the various types of propane containers, and how to close the release valves on each type.

Coughlin said the main reason for the exercise was to help the firefighters overcome any intimidation they may have in dealing with the flammable gas.

“It’s basically a confidence builder,” he said. “If you had to do it on a job and you’d never encountered propane before, you’d probably be afraid of it.”


Article Link

Gloucester Times Slideshow

Pay within 10 Days? Now 10 cents off per gallon!

After every winter, we do a lot of reassessing and planning for the upcoming year. We look for ways to improve our service as much as we can. One thing we talked about was the 5 cents per gallon discount. We decided to double it. 10 cents per gallon would lead to significant savings for each customer, and be more incentive to pay promptly, so its a win-win for everyone!

Pat Putnam

It is with deep sadness today that we inform you of the passing of Pat Putnam. Pat worked in our office for many years and remained like family to many of us here. She will be greatly missed.

Is Spring Finally Here?

After a wild unpredictable winter, March has arrived and brought with it spring-like weather. However, you never know what we’re going to get here in New England. If you need a delivery, now’s a great time as demand has begun to slow down, and the oil price has begun another big dip!

We appreciate the patience and kind words from customers over this crazy winter, and after a winter of night shifts and 7 day a week driving, Spring is a welcome sight.

Thank you for trusting Holden Oil this winter for your energy needs and we hope to continue providing fuel and quality service to you and your families for many years to come.

Please call our office for fuel, service, or any general questions regarding your energy needs.


Winter Storm Safety

Press Release

Keep Safe and Warm During Winter Storm

Epsom, NH (January 26, 2015) – With Winter Storm Juno on its way, the 1,250,000 homes and business in New England that rely on propane to generate heat or run appliances should make sure to take the following steps to keep everyone safe and warm:

Be Prepared:

1. Mark location of your tank with a flag, pole, or stake – and keep path to tank clear. The marker should be higher than the expected snow cover depth for your location. It will help to avoid plowing or shoveling snow on top of your tank. Should your tank become covered with snow, use a broom to clear it. And ensure that there is a clear path to your tank for deliveries.
2. Check your chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and propane tank for damage, blockage, or debris caused by snow and ice. Use a broom rather than a shovel, and clear these areas frequently. This will help reduce the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning due to blocked or damaged chimneys, flues, and vents.
3. Contact propane supplier when tank is 20% full. During and after a winter storm, roads may be inaccessible for delivery. It is recommended that you establish a regular delivery schedule with your propane retailer. Most suppliers advise waiting until your tank is down to 20% full before scheduling your next delivery.
4. Keep home or business temperature up. Keeping the thermostat turned up will you’re your house warm in case power is lost.
5. Use extreme caution when operating portable generators. Never use a portable generator (gasoline, diesel, or propane) indoors or in enclosed areas. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning or death. Keep portable generators outside and ten feet from the house.
6. Never use a stove for space heating and never use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas. Proper ventilation is necessary for their safe operation; and carbon monoxide fumes emitted can be lethal. Only use appliances indoors that are designed and approved for indoor use.

Stay Safe:
Take immediate action if you smell gas inside or outside of your home or business. Follow these simple instructions:

1. No flames or sparks! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate or turn on or off lights, appliances, telephones or cell phones.
2. Leave the area immediately! Get everyone out of the building or area where you suspect gas is leaking.
3. Shut off the gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank, if it is safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it to the right (clockwise).
4. Report the leak. From a neighbor’s home or other building away from the gas leak, call your propane retailer right away. If you can’t reach your propane retailer, call 911 or your local fire department.
5. Do not return to the building or area until your propane retailer, emergency responder, or qualified service technician determines that it is safe to do so.
6. Get your system checked. Before you attempt to use any of your propane appliances, your propane retailer or a qualified service technician must check your entire system to ensure that it is leak-free.

For more information on how consumers can prepare for a safe and comfortable winter, visit

About the Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE)
The Propane Gas Association of New England serves more than 650 members of the propane industry by promoting safety, education, and public awareness of the uses of propane.


Holden Oil Announces Merger with Commonwealth Oil


Holden Oil is excited to announce that as of Jan 1, 2015 Commonwealth Oil of North Reading will be merged with Holden Oil. This is a great opportunity for Holden Oil to better reach oil customers in Middlesex County, and offer Commonwealth customers a variety of other services, such as kerosene, off road diesel delivery, and propane. All Commonwealth Oil’s operations will continue to run from their 290 Main St. Office in North Reading. The same familiar voices will be answering the phones, and the same service techs and drivers, with the help from the Holden’s staff, helping you at your homes. We’re still in the process of giving Commonwealth Oil online access to check their accounts the same way Holden Oil customers are able to. That will be coming soon. If you have any questions regarding the merger, feel free to call our office at (978) 531-2984, or Commonwealth’s office at (978) 664-2446.

Construction Begins on Holden’s New office


Work has begun on our new office! We hope to be moved into the new location this spring. Since 1924, we have been in the present building, and despite many additions and remodels  over the years, we have outgrown our current building. We will not be moving far, however, as we will be in the former Gagnon Welding building located in the rear of our current office. Above is a drawing of what the new office will look like from the front, and below are a few pictures from before and during the current construction. We will update with more pictures as the constuction moves along.


Salem News- 90 years later, Holden Oil is still all in the family

By John Castelluccio Staff Writer Salem News


PEABODY — It all started in 1924 when Amos Holden opened a little gas station on the family farm off Lynnfield Street. Ninety years later, his brother’s grandson is in the midst of a $1 million renovation at the family company, Holden Oil.

When Amos died, ownership and operation of the company passed to his brother Arthur, who eventually passed it on to his son Arthur Jr., who passed it on to his son, Chuck. Chuck Holden, at 51, has owned and run the company for the past decade, although his father still works there. So does Chuck’s son, Tom.

“I grew up sitting between him and my mother (in the office),” laughed Chuck Holden, pointing to his father. Now Tom Holden sits next to his father and grandfather at separate desks, all managing different tasks. Tom, 25, started working at the family business when he was 16 and came on full time after college. He’s worked in all aspects of the company and now spends a lot of time in the office.

“We have a lot of fun. We agree to disagree,” said Arthur Holden Jr., who does most of the banking. He grew up working alongside his father, and now, at 86 — his wife, Jean, died three years ago — he still comes in to the office every day. He’s even there when Chuck and Tom aren’t.

“We’re smart enough to know when to take a break,” Chuck said, smiling. Chuck’s two daughters, Sara and Liz, also worked there through high school.

“We’ve morphed in different directions over time,” said Chuck, explaining that it’s revolved around oil and diesel services and products, along with propane gas. The company has a propane storage facility in Essex. He said most oil customers are on the North Shore, while propane customers range from the New Hampshire border down to Waltham. They have 9,000 residential and commercial customers.

The family property was parceled off over the years, but the Holdens still live next door to their business. “We haven’t been smart enough to move off of Lynnfield Street,” Chuck said.

He and his wife, Martha, the city’s library director, live next to 91 Lynnfield St. Next to them is his aunt, and two doors down is his great-aunt in the house where his grandparents used to live. Back in 1924, Amos’ house was where the liquor store is now. The front entryway to Holden Oil — the door and two glass windows — are 90 years old.

The planned renovations are out of necessity. Company growth in recent years has been limited due to the fact that there’s no more space at the existing offices, which were built around 1970.

“We really outgrew our office,” Chuck said. “That’s been an issue for a long time.” There are currently 45 to 50 employees, and some new jobs may be added in the near future, he said.

The project entails extensive work to a building behind Holden Oil, the former Gagnon Welding property. They’ll move the front offices and connected service areas for company trucks into the remodeled building, which would be a combination office and garage. Chuck Holden said the purchase price for Gagnon Welding was $425,000, and he anticipates spending $500,000 on the renovations.

Arthur Gagnon purchased that rear parcel from Chuck Holden’s grandparents in the 1940s and built a shop as a contractor and construction equipment repair business. Gagnon closed 10 or 15 years ago and then rented out the building as three separate units.

Chuck Holden received a permit from the city last month to embark on the renovation project and still needs to finalize details before obtaining a building permit. He expects to begin construction Oct. 1 and wrap up by midwinter. The new company headquarters will have double the offices in the front portion of the building, two service bays and a loading dock in the rear half. Garage equipment will be housed in an adjoining space.

The move will also shift employee parking to the rear of the site and create more spaces for customers at the gas station and next door at South Peabody Liquors, which is owned by the Holdens, as well. Chuck Holden said that should alleviate traffic and congestion at the site.

As for the future of the front building, the family is planning to redevelop it, but there are no “hard and fast plans” at this time, Chuck said. He said the gas station would remain, but the building would be remodeled.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.

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