Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It is another day without heat or hot water for many people living in Southwest Baltimore after construction crews hit a natural gas main in the area.
Monique Griego has the latest on the repair efforts and the frustration in the community.
The good news is that the gas line itself has been fixed. But despite all that progress, it could still be a couple of days before service is restored.
After a day and a half of digging and repairing lines, hundreds of people in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood are still without any gas service in their homes.
“Real rough, you know,” homeowner Chico Dunlap said. “The water got in the house, different rooms and trying to keep them warm at night.”
Dunlap and his neighbors haven’t had any heat or hot water since early Tuesday morning. Sky Eye Chopper 13 captured the scene as BGE crews scrambled to repair a broken gas line in the 300-block of Millington Avenue. The utility says the line was accidentally busted by a public works crew trying to fix a water main break. Nine hundred homes lost gas service.
“When I come in from work at night, I hope it will be fixed and I can take a shower tonight,” homeowner Walter Henderson said.
But according to BGE, a hot shower Wednesday night isn’t likely because restoration is a labor-intensive process that requires crews to go door-to-door to shut off service.
“Once we’ve turned all of their gas service off, then we can flush the system of the water and debris from our gas main,” Rachel Lighty of BGE said. “Then we’ll have to go back in and begin to reestablish gas services and relight appliances.”
Crews hope to start restoring service Thursday but admit there is no guaranteed timeline.
“It is safe to say that it will continue to be a multi-day restoration process,” Lighty said.
Homeowners say they are just happy to see any progress.
“I’m just happy to see the hole getting filled back in,” Dunlap said. “That’s a blessing right now.”
There is still a command post set up in the neighborhood because there is a lot of work that needs to be done. BGE still has about 300 homes they need to get into to shut off gas service. Some of those homes may be vacant so police are going door-to-door with a locksmith to enter those homes.
Many families tell WJZ they’re going to be staying with relatives until the gas is turned back on. The City of Baltimore has also set up a heating shelter for people who don’t have any other place to go at the Bentalou Recreation Center at 222 N. Bentalou Street.
If crews find water damage in a home’s appliance line, the City says it will pay for plumbers for repairs so customers don’t have to pay out-of-pocket.