ELYRIA — Columbia Gas technicians and employees from other gas companies worked around the clock Saturday to restore gas service to the rest of the homes and businesses in the Eastern Heights neighborhood.
The workers have been going door-to-door to purge lines, inspect the work and relight gas appliances since Thursday afternoon. The outage was a deliberate shutdown for safety reasons that affected 2,500 households in the neighborhood, according to Columbia Gas.
Areas affected by the gas service have been broken down into three zones — blue, yellow and pink. A map of the zones can be found at www.cityofelyria.org.
On Saturday, Columbia Gas announced its workers had restored service to 1,276 customers in the yellow and blue zones by 6 p.m. The workers spent the rest of the evening and night reaching customers in the pink zone.
Sarah Runic, a resident on Oxford Avenue, said she came home Saturday a little before 6 p.m. to let in the Columbia Gas workers. With her 2-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, she was happy to feel the heat coming back to her home.
“It’s warming up slowly, but I live in an older house so the boiler will take a little bit longer to heat up,” she said about 9 p.m. Saturday.
Runic said she was worried when the gas was first shut off and sent her children to their grandparents. By Thursday night, Runic said the home, which is usually 75 degrees, was down to 45 degrees.
Runic then contacted Columbia Gas, which directed her to the reserved hotels they had for customers to use during the inconvenience.
Runic said she stayed at the La Quinta in North Olmsted from Friday evening to Saturday with her fianc￩ and children until things cleared up. The hotel, as well as any meals during that time, would be reimbursed by Columbia Gas, Runic said. She said she was surprised by how easy it was to set it up.
“They didn’t argue with me, they didn’t question how many people were in my house, none of that,” she said.
Jeni Borrelli, a resident on Harvard Avenue, said she finally got gas service restored Saturday afternoon. Borrelli said she and her son had to conserve the last of the hot water and used space heaters she borrowed from her mother for Thursday night. On Friday night, she stayed with a friend while her teenage son stayed home using the space heaters.
Company spokesman Daniel Ball said if all customers weren’t reached Saturday that they will continue to work into today if necessary.
Gas workers will make three attempts to restore service to homes in the affected areas. If residents cannot be reached, customers must call Columbia Gas to have service restored. Information will be left at the unoccupied houses. Customers should leave their porch light on if they still need service restored.
Crews will need to enter each home and business to perform a safety inspection and relight gas appliances. All Columbia Gas employees carry a photo ID and will show it upon request.
Residents are warned against attempting to relight appliances by themselves. Columbia Gas workers will inspect and relight appliances after gas service has been restored, the company said.
An adult must be present for Columbia Gas workers to enter the home. If residents are leaving their home, Columbia Gas asks that they leave contact information on the door or with a neighbor.
Anyone who sought shelter at a hotel or meals due to the gas shutoff may request reimbursement if they have receipts to prove expenses. For expenses information, call (800) 915-9161.
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