GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Five days after a natural gas leak in Georgetown, people still cannot return to about 40 businesses and homes in the area.
The cause of the leak still remains a mystery, as Tuesday, crews from Atmos Energy worked to restore service in an widening area near Williams and River Bend Drives.
Nicole Harris, who owns the Hydrate market and juice bar, found out the earliest she may be able to reopen is Thursday. That would make it a week since crews forced her to close and evacuate because of the gas leak nearby.
“This is going to be really hard to come back from. We’re trusting [Atmos] to take care of us,” Harris said. “We’re trusting them to keep our customers and our employees safe by keeping us away, but this is going to be hard on the business.”
The loud hum of heavy machinery permeated the area Tuesday, as crews set up devices in various parking lots to collect gas built up underground and dissipate it. The levels, however, remained too high, so the owners of The Pit Bar-B-Q could not take down the “closed due to gas leak” sign taped on all their doors just yet.
“We’re hoping to open up as soon as they give us the word, but even when they give us the word, it’s going to take us another day for us to open up because we cook everything overnight and all the food prep,” said Marshall Tucker, whose family owns The Pit. “We also had a couple of caterings that we had to cancel. And we’ve just been assuring our employees that they’re still going to get paid.”
Across the street, The Golden Chick drive-through put up a sign redirecting customers to another location in Georgetown, but Harris cannot do the same.
She’s working to figure out how much Atmos Energy can possibly reimbruse her for the business she’s now lost.
“It’s scary, but we’ll come back from this,” Harris said. “It’ll be hard, but we’ll do it.”
A spokesperson for Atmos Energy told KXAN that the company is still paying for hotel rooms and food for people who have not been able to come back home just yet.
Some people who have returned to their houses, though, still do not have any natural gas service. Atmos Energy said it provided those people with compressed natural gas units to temporarily heat their homes and water.