DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One week after a house explosion that killed a 12-year-old Dallas girl, nearby residents are still weighing whether to stay or leave while their gas is shut off.
Atmos officials told them Thursday it could be off for up to three weeks, leaving raises concerns about theft, which is why law enforcement are making their presence known.
Empty neighborhoods can invite trouble, which is what Deputy Marshals are working for around the clock.
“We’re helping answering calls within the affected area, and we also just provide police presence and a strong message to anyone who might want to take advantage of the citizens in this area that there’s a lot of law enforcement out here,” says Chief Paul Hansen, Interim City Marshal.
He says basically every uniformed person in the Dallas Marshals Office who’s not at the jail will be in the area. They are assisting the Dallas Police Department, which has fixed posts in the area. Nearly 3000 residents are without gas – and may be for up to three weeks – while Atmos replaces the lines.
“It’s freezing cold inside,” says resident Cynthia Padilla. “It feels nice outside, but a house where nobody’s in it, it gets really cold. It feels like a tomb in there.”
Padilla has been staying in hotels, returning to claim items she left behind.
“It’s the little things that nag at you and make you feel like this is overwhelming,” she says.
And fearing who’s in her neighborhood while she’s not.
“I worry about people just stealing packages that get delivered here,” she says.
A similar worry came true at Michael Rojas’ home, where two cars were broken into overnight.
“I told my Dad last night, ‘make sure everything’s locked up.’ We need to watch out for stuff like that,” Rojas says.
The police presence, they say, is comforting…and, they hope, effective, for the long haul.
“We’ll be here until we’re not needed anymore,” says Chief Hansen.
The Marshals say the 911 calls they’ve received have been mostly alarms and suspicious people. There have not been any arrests so far related to thefts or looting.