Gas restoration continues

PARKERSBURG – Crews from West Virginia and parts of Ohio continued to work Friday to restore natural gas service to south Parkersburg residents who have been without it since Wednesday morning.

About 351 customers had gas Friday at 7 p.m. as workers continued to try to vacuum water out of the system.

“We’ve made very good progress, but there are pockets” where water remains, said Bob Fulton, spokesman for Dominion Hope.

Approximately 450 customers lost service early Wednesday after water infiltrated the system between and around Broadway Avenue and Elder Street. The break was repaired Wednesday afternoon, and vacuum trucks have been pulling water out of the lines since.

However, that can be delicate work as they must suction out the water without impacting other lines that are working, said Bob Tawney, safety and training specialist for Dominion.

“Especially on a low-pressure system (like this one), there’s no valves to isolate,” he said.

To provide service to customers in some areas where water is still an impediment, Dominion has brought in three “war wagons,” trailers containing cylinders of compressed natural gas to provide a temporary source.

“It allows us to keep (the) people in gas until we get the regular line restored,” Tawney said. “But it’s a limited source.”

On Friday afternoon, workers from Pennsylvania-based D&M Contracting were replacing one gas line in which the water had frozen.

Tawney said he’s been impressed with the response of the community to the Dominion workers. Residents have been offering coffee and food and thanking them for their work.

“Here they’re the ones that (are) being inconvenienced, but they’re still thinking about the workers out there,” he said. “It means a lot.”

Dominion has arranged for overnight accommodations or warming centers for affected customers who need them by calling 800-934-3187.

Affected residents also can contact the 911 Center’s non-emergency line, 304-485-8501.

The county has provided Dominion use of its mobile command center, which is set up in the parking lot of the Broadway Church of the Nazarene, which Dominion has been using as a staging area.

“This gives them a place that’s got heat where they can lay out their maps, access the phone system, and all that,” said Ed Hupp, Wood County emergency management director.