DALLAS – Atmos Energy will shut off natural gas to nearly 3,000 homes and apartments in northwest Dallas on Thursday. Meanwhile, dozens more homes were evacuated overnight in the area where a gas explosion killed a 12-year-old girl last week.
New evacuations as of 2 a.m. Thursday include 30 homes on Snow White Drive (even) and Pinocchio Drive (odd) between Sleepy Lane and Royal Lane and 16 homes on Pinocchio Drive (even) and Cinderella Drive (odd) between Northhaven Road and Sleepy Lane.
Atmos will shut off gas service to a larger area between Walnut Hill Lane, Webb Chapel Road, Northwest Highway and Lakemont Drive beginning at noon Thursday.
The outage could last up to three weeks as crews work to replace all the mains and service lines. The company said it is bringing in more than 120 crews to complete the work as quickly as possible.
“We will replace all those lines, all those meters, make all the necessary repairs within our customers’ homes at our charge and we’ll do that as quickly as possible. Our crews will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to complete this,” said John Paris, the president of Atmos Energy’s mid-Texas division.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said after seeing the results of extensive tests, he fully supports the utility company’s decision to take down the system and replace it. A geotechnical engineer found that with all the recent rain, formations underground in the area have expanded and put pressure on the aging system, causing leaks.
“Your safety is our number one priority,” Jenkins said.
County and city leaders will also work with Dallas ISD to address parents and students concerns.
“This is definitely going to be a challenging few weeks as people are being displaced as well as kids and others trying to get to and from school. But we’re going to work in concert with the Dallas Independent School District as well as Dallas County and a variety of other agencies to make sure that the support is there for our residents” said Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax.
Residents living in the affected area will not be required to leave their homes. They can stay but will have to use electric appliances.
Atmos will go door to door Thursday morning to make sure everyone has all the necessary information. Residents can also get information about the outages, hotels and other services at the Walnut Hill Rec Center or Bachman Rec Center beginning at 4 p.m.
The gas company said it could not have predicted what it calls an “unprecedented” system problem.