chianson Plano Residents Still Nervous After Explosion

Anson Chi (credit: Collin County)

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – One month after a Plano man allegedly set off a bomb while tampering with a gas main, homeowners say not enough is being done to prevent it from happening again.

The City of Plano will meet with Atmos Energy on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Homeowner Joani Reese said that she is still anxious, one month after suspect Anson Chi was arrested for trying to blow up a natural gas regulator station very close to her Plano home. He was indicted last week. The bomb went off sooner than planned, badly injuring Chi in the process. Reese said she heard him screaming. “It was really traumatizing and traumatic,” she said. “You could see the blood on his chest and face.”

Reese said that she worries about copycats. “It’s been on the news. It’s been on the internet. It’s been painted now, so that it’s even more visible to anyone driving by,” she said.

Last Friday, an Atmos crew put up a new wooden fence behind the regulator station. Reese has asked Atmos Energy to install a chain link fence around it to make it more difficult to access. “The people in the neighborhood are on edge,” she said. “Putting up a fence at least would be a symbol they understood how we felt. We want to feel safer, and we don’t.”

A bomb expert said that Reese has legitimate concerns. He said that setting off an explosive device at a regulator would not likely crack a natural gas main, but it could create a huge fireball.

Atmos Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Ryan said that their security measures worked perfectly. “Our regulator stations are safe,” she said.

But Ryan said that these sorts of incidents prompt them to review their procedures with the Department of Homeland Security and the Texas Railroad Commission. “It’s something of a high priority for us, just examining everything,” she said. “They know about this specific incident and we are in talks.”

Ryan said that Atmos is now looking into Reese’s request. In fact, the company is meeting with Plano engineers on Tuesday to discuss a fence and other options. “We empathize with them and we understand why they’re concerned about it,” Ryan said. “We have 100 percent confidence in the safety and reliability of our systems.”

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