Dallas Neighborhood's Gas Cutoff Affects 2,800 Homes

Atmos Energy says its planned outage for up to three weeks is being done "out of an abundance of caution" and "is not being taken because of any imminent emergency or danger," but a gas explosion Feb. 23 that killed a 12-year-old girl in her home spurred the repairs.

Atmos Energy on March 1 began what it called a "planned outage" that cuts of natural gas service to 2,800 homes in a northwest Dallas, Texas, neighborhood. The cutoff will last as long as two to three weeks before service is restored in phases, John Paris, president of Atmos Energy’s Mid-Tex division, said March 1.

"We will be working around the clock as we replace any necessary pipelines and other equipment and will try our best to minimize any disruption," he said.

The company said the repair work is being done "out of an abundance of caution" and "is not being taken because of any imminent emergency or danger," but a gas explosion Feb. 23 that killed a 12-year-old girl in her home spurred the repairs and has alarmed residents of the area. Investigators from the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in the state, and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the Feb. 23 explosion, The Dallas Morning News has reported.

Atmos Energy says the outage is necessary to repair its natural gas distribution system "after recent extraordinary rains in North Texas as well as geological conditions in the area have caused leaks," wit the company adding that repair work already had taken place over the past few days. Its announcement said the company is deploying more than 120 crews to complete the repairs quickly and to be on hand to assist each homeowner as service is restored. Atmos Energy will offer financial assistance for hotels or other accommodations during the repairs and is working with the city of Dallas and other agencies to assist if necessary.

NTSB reported March 1 that a team of three investigators arrived on scene Feb. 25 at the Dallas address where the home explosion took place, and they learned of two other homes in the immediate vicinity that were damaged by two separate explosions/fires two days earlier. The investigators have interviewed 11 Dallas Fire and Rescue department personnel and four Atmos Energy employees who responded to the Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 house fires, and the agency said a leak has been found at a service tee connection to 3524 Espanola Drive, where the Feb. 23 explosion happened. This 6-foot long distribution mainline segment has been collected and will be shipped to the NTSB materials laboratory in Washington for examination, and NTSB plans to conduct further pressure tests on customer gas lines at 3534 Espanola Drive in the next three to four days.

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