UPDATE (4:32 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16): Around 350 customers on Charleston’s West Side have had their natural gas services restored, according to Mountaineer Gas.
The anticipated majority system restoration is in six days, on Wednesday, Nov. 22.
CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — 260 customers on Charleston’s West Side have had their natural gas services restored, with another 250 expected to have theirs fixed on Thursday, according to the city of Charleston.
Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said on Thursday that this includes Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School and the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center. Another 60 customers have gas in their homes, but a plumber needs to come in to connect to appliances.
“[Mountaineer Gas Company (MGC)] has 31 crews on the ground – which includes nearly 200 boots on the ground – including additional safety personnel and contractors – to assist with restoration efforts. MGC has contracted with 5 local plumbers to restore service to houses,” Mayor Goodwin said in a press release on Thursday.
On Friday, 46 miles of gas line was flooded after a water main break on Charleston’s West Side, Mountaineer Gas spokesperson and Sr. Vice President Moses Skaff said.
Customers on Charleston’s West Side were without both gas and water, but water services were restored shortly after. West Virginia American Water has declined to comment.
Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday declared a State of Emergency due to the gas outage.
Mountaineer Gas tells 13 News that it will take three to four days to start restoration of natural gas services, and seven to ten days for full restoration.
They say a representative — in uniform, with an ID and in a Mountaineer Gas vehicle — will have to come into your residence to begin to restore gas services in three to four days. If you are not home, they will leave a note on your door to set up an appointment.
Anyone affected by this is being urged to not fix anything by yourself and to wait for a Mountaineer Gas official.
Charleston Fire Department officials are saying it’s important to remember safety during such a stressful time.
To begin, affected families need to put safety at the top of the list while they try to stay warm.
Some residents are already geared up for the cold and are using electric blankets or electric space heaters to warm up at night. Though with the gas outage to last over a week, the Charleston Fire Department and others are hoping to assist affected families.
Officials said it’s important to keep the heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, and that also means not letting anyone get too close to the heater, especially children.
Fire officials said to only use heaters that have been tested and proven safe, and only buy heaters with an overheat protection system and a thermostat. They also said to look for heaters that have an automatic shut-off in case it tips over.
To not overheat the heaters, they encourage residents to plug it directly into the wall and place it on a flat and stable surface that doesn’t block exits. To avoid fires, space heaters should be shut off and unplugged if anyone leaves the house or goes to sleep.
The crisis has caused Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School — which is only a few blocks away from the scene — to close for the rest of the week.
Students will have to log into Schoology each day for their assignments. Anyone who needs help with Schoology can go into the school from 10:30 a.m. to noon, or go to “Schoology office hours” from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. online. Lunches are also available to pick up between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
You can find a list of places to get food, water, toiletries and more by clicking here.