A contractor working on installing fiber optic cable broke a gas line when digging in the area of 140th Lane and Prairie Road in Andover Monday afternoon (March 19), a CenterPoint Energy spokesperson said.
According to CenterPoint Energy spokesperson Rebecca Virden, the contractor called 911 around 3:30 p.m. March 19 to report the gas line had been hit.
Virden said the Andover Fire Department went to evacuate three homes, although nobody was at two of the homes.
Approximately 450 homes east of Prairie Road and north of Bunker Lake Boulevard temporarily lost natural gas service. As of Tuesday morning (March 20), about 50 customers still did not have service, although 27 had scheduled appointments to get their service back online today.
According to Virden, after CenterPoint found out about the gas line break, it sent about 60 service vans out to shut down gas meters on the outside of people’s homes.
After the line was repaired, CenterPoint made sure the air was out of the line before knocking on residents’ doors and helping them turn their natural gas back on, Virden said.
Before the natural gas could be turned on at each home, she said the CenterPoint technicians conducted tests to make sure it was safe to turn the gas back on. They also did courtesy checks of appliances that need natural gas as well as water heaters to make sure there were no issues. Some homeowners were informed their water heaters were set at too high of a temperature that could affect their monthly bill and could be dangerous, for example.
When nobody was home, CenterPoint hung a notice on the door handle with a phone number they could call to set up an appointment to get their gas turned back on. Virden said the bulk of service technicians left the neighborhood around 10:30 p.m., but a skeleton crew stayed around in case someone set up an appointment.
Some residents who called in were helped around midnight so they could have a hot shower in the morning. It took about 20 minutes at each home for a service technician to conduct the safety tests and turn the gas back on, Virden said.
The high winds werfe somewhat challenging because they blew the natural gas smell farther away, but Virden said there was no danger of this airborne natural gas igniting.
If a resident in that neighborhood still does not have natural gas service, they should call 612-333-6466, she said.
CenterPoint Energy will send a repair bill to the company responsible for the gas line break, Virden said.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org