GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A gas leak that initially began on Wednesday forced a Georgetown neighborhood to evacuate and nearby businesses to close down. On Sunday, gas has still not been turned on.
A spokesperson with Atmos Energy said residents of 16 houses were evacuated in the 2500 block of Oak Lane when the company got word about the leak late Wednesday evening.
Khalid Alaseeri said when he got home from work on Thursday around 8:30 p.m., he had a hard time getting onto his street.
“There was people walking around with badges and vests and stuff I thought something horrible went down like a murder or something,” he said.
Workers with Atmos told him they suggested he not go back to his house because the gas levels were so high, but his dog was there.
“Even when I go into the house I can’t turn on light switches or anything,” said Alaseeri.
He was told to pack up for a day or two, but he was back Sunday to pick up some dog food and clothes.
The initial call about the leak was at 507 River Bend. When workers with the energy company, which services the Georgetown area, worked to repair the leak into Thursday morning, gas was shut off completely.
Sunday evening, it’s still not turned on, and Alaseeri tells KXAN that he just wants to get back into his home.
“It’s pretty upsetting, but it’s not their fault,” he said.
A statement from Atmos Energy’s spokesperson Randy Hartford said: “We will continue to communicate and work with the evacuated homeowners to let them know when it is safe to return.”
Residents were moved to area hotels so they would have somewhere to stay while the company’s representatives worked and were told to save receipts for Atmos to reimburse them.
Crews were out working Sunday to try to get residents back in their homes and businesses back open, but Alaseeri said he’s being told he likely won’t be able to go back to his house until Tuesday.
“I think they’re doing everything they can,” Alaseeri said. “It’s been a major inconvenience, but I don’t know who to blame.”
“Safety is Atmos Energy’s core value, and our highly trained technicians continue to take the highest level of precaution by monitoring the affected areas and only allowing the evacuations to be lifted when it is safe to do so,” the statement from the company said.
Nine businesses in the 2500 block of Williams Dr. were also asked to shut their doors. One of those affected was Crestview Baptist Church, and a message on their website said church services and events were canceled for the 24th because of the leak.
It is unknown what caused it in the first place, but Atmos Energy’s spokesperson Randy Hartford said they will be working to find that out.
“Right now our focus is our customers, getting service restored and getting them back in their homes,” Hartford wrote in an email.
Read the full statement from Atmos Energy below:
“Safety is Atmos Energy’s core value, and our highly trained technicians continue to take the highest level of precaution by monitoring the affected areas and only allowing the evacuations to be lifted when it is safe to do so.
We will continue to communicate and work with the evacuated homeowners to let them know when it is safe to return.
We appreciate the support of the fire department, police and city officials for their assistance and will continue to coordinate and communicate with them during this time.
Atmos Energy reminds anyone who smells natural gas to leave the area immediately and call 911 or the Atmos Energy emergency line at 1.866.322.8667. To learn more about natural gas leak detection, visit: https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/recognizing-leak.”