UPDATE: Gas line fixed, crews restoring service to customers

By Nicole Bell - bio | email

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - Columbia Gas of Virginia is restoring service to the 487 customers who lost natural gas service in Prince George County on Wednesday.

A ruptured natural gas line left hundreds of Prince George County residents without service.  The line was cut by a construction worker just after 11 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Bob Innes, a spokesman for Columbia Gas, said Thursday morning that almost all of the 487 customers impacted by the broken gas line Wednesday are now back on line.  Service has not been restored to about 60  homes because the residents were not home when a technicians went by to re-light appliances and to do a safety check. For those folks, Columbia gas left a notice stating to call the gas company to schedule a  time for a technician to return to the home.

On Wednesday, Betty Grant was unable to use her gas fire place or her stove.

"I came in and I didn't see any flames.  I came home to try and fix some lunch for my husband and turned the stove on and I didn't have any gas. So I can't cook or anything until this is fixed," said Grant.

A third party contractor, hired by VDOT, cut a six inch gas main --  leaving churches, several schools, as well as some 500 homes near Middle Road and Prince George Drive without gas.

"I got a whiff of that smell of natural gas.  It did scare me a bit to know that natural gas was seeping out," Grant explained.

A nearby Citgo gas station had to be evacuated for two hours.

"We  monitored the air while we were here to make sure everything was like it should be and at no time was the public in danger," said Andy Aigner, Director of Fire and EMS in Prince George County.

Columbia Gas says technicians will be going door-to-door throughout the evening to shut off meters at impacted homes.  Once the ruptured gas line is fixed -- technicians will go back to those homes to re-light appliances.

Grant says she'll have to turn on her electric heat to stay warm tonight. As for cooking dinner...

"We might have to eat out tonight unless I can find a microwavable stuff," said Grant.

It's unclear if the gas line was marked by miss utility -- indicating where not to dig. VDOT says it's looking in to the matter to see who's at fault.

Most of the folks left without natural gas live in the Branchester Lakes subdivision. Folks in the area call the situation inconvenient. Columbia Gas says it's working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue.

VDOT says crews were working a road widening project when the gas line was hit.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.