Gas Pipeline Valve Malfunctions, Leaves Nearly 1700 Without Gas

January 7, 2005 – Posted at 4:49 p.m. CST

CRITTENDEN COUNTY -- There was a lot of snuggling Thursday night in Region 8. That's because 1650 people in Crittenden County spent the night without any gas, making for some, a chilly evening.

A ruptured pipeline valve was to blame, but on Friday ARKLA crews worked to turn the gas back on.

"We'll turn on the gas to the town of Crawfordsville, we'll bleed the air out of the lines. Then we'll start going house to house after that," said Jody Pickens of Center Point Energy.

ARKLA employees have been working around the clock trying to restore gas back to resident in Crawfordsville, Earle and Perkins. But they say with a need for folks to be home, it's going to take time before they can get everybody up and running. The crews had to make sure the gas was working correctly in each home and after a cold night, folks were pretty happy to see them.

"The temperature in the house reached about 52 degrees," said Crawfordsville resident William Howe, "so we just put an extra blanket on and slept with our clothes on."

"We can not take a shower. The water was cold, so we have to wait," said Jose Flyes, who spent the night without heat.

Uncle John's Restaurant in Crawfordsville runs on about 85% natural gas, but the outage didn't stop folks from being hungry.

Owner Michael Marconi said, "It just slowed us down tremendously. So when people walk in the door, you just ask for their patience. But everybody who comes in here has been here for over 20 years basically, or the last 10 years at least. They pretty much understand how it goes here anyway."

ARKLA says they don't know why the gas pipeline valve malfunctioned, but until things are fixed, it's best to stay inside.

"With the temperature the way it has been it's not been a lot of danger from freezing, pipes freezing. We've talked to as many customers as we can. Told them to keep their doors closed, stay inside as much as they can. The houses will retain a little bit of heat," said Pickens.

Students in the Earle School District got out of classes Friday, but should be back in school by Monday. Officials at ARKLA say they are continuing to work to have all the gas turned back on for residents in Earle, Parkin and Crawfordsville.