DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas plans to hold a community meeting tonight to address homeowners and residents who say they’re living in fear after a gas explosion killed a 12-year-old girl inside her home.
Many people living in the Northwest Dallas neighborhood, near Espanola Drive not far from Dallas Love Field Airport, are also pushing to hold the gas company – Atmos Energy — accountable.
While the evacuation in the neighborhood where the house exploded has been lifted gas service to some 300 homes in the area has not been restored and tenants at the Chapel Creek Apartments, in the 3400 block of Hidalgo Drive, have not been allowed back in their homes since they were evacuated on Sunday.
Apartment residents were told to vacate the premises after a natural gas leak was discovered as crew surveyed the area near the house where young Linda Rogers was killed.
Officials with Atmos had said it could take up to 10 days to restore natural gas service to everyone I the area, but with rain in the forecast today and tomorrow that date could be pushed back.
After two house fires, the deadly explosion and the apartment gas leak, Atmos Energy is replacing nearly three miles of natural gas pipelines out of what it calls an ‘abundance of caution.’
Atmos spokesperson Jennifer Altieri said, “ We have heard the community. We understand and we are going to let you back in until it is 100-percent safe.” The company is also providing lodging for residents displaced while the work is completed.
This morning Atmos released a statement explaining that crews are “going door to door restoring natural gas service to more than 40 homes located in the 3700 and 3600 block of Cortez.” But these aren’t the average checks, Atmos officials say technicians are unlocking the gas meters and relighting all the pilots. The worker must then test every appliance in the residence for safety.
Atmos explained that if a resident, 18 years of age or older, is not at home when the worker arrives for testing they will leave “a door tag with instructions on how to contact us to restore service.”
Residents are being advised to monitor the Atmos website to find out when and where workers will be restoring service each day.
Johnathan Gonzalez’s home is one of those that caught fire. “We actually heard a loud noise in the attic,” he recalled. “It was like ‘boom’ like it was a bomb.”
The Dallas Fire Department linked the fires and the house explosion that killed 12-year-old Linda Rogers to natural gas leaks in the area. And some residents say Atmos had plenty of warning signs that something was wrong.
Even the city councilman who represents the district says he doesn’t have any answers about why this happened. “We’re deeply concerned and we want to make sure that they’re [residents] safe in their homes,” said Adam Medrano – District 2.
For those who have already returned to their homes and others who were never evacuated, Atmos Energy is asking everyone to err on the side of caution and if they smell rotten eggs – a sign of a gas leak — to call 911 and get out of the area.
The community meeting, to discuss natural gas concerns, will be held at 6 p.m. at Stephen C. Foster Elementary School, located at 3700 Clover Lane.