Shelter available for 2,500 Columbia gas customers impacted by outage lasting 24 to 48 hours

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UPDATE---Lorain County Emergency Management is changing the location of the shelter for those affected by the Columbia Gas outage. Residents needing shelter are now being asked to go to  Eastern Heights Middle School located at 528 Garford Avenue in Elyria. They can enter the school from the Prospect Street entrance.  The shelter at East Recreation Center is now closed. 

 

ELYRIA, Ohio -- Air was discovered in an Elyria gas line during a routine check by Columbia Gas of Ohio Thursday afternoon, causing 2,500 customers to go without gas.

According to the City of Elyria Mayor's Office, Columbia Gas said it did not know how air was introduced to the line.

Columbia Gas told FOX 8 that multiple residents notified them of a loss of service so as a precaution they shutdown the system in the Eastern Heights area of Elyria.

The shutoff has impacted approximately 2,500 customers in the Eastern Heights Boulevard and Concord Avenue areas.

The mayor's office says affected customers will be without gas for between 24 and 48 hours.

Courtesy: Columbia Gas of Ohio

According to Columbia Gas' website, they currently have crews working to review and restore the system.

They say they must first shutoff the gas to every customer in the impacted area, then make any needed repairs, and visit each customer, inside their home, to perform a safety inspection and relight appliances.  This inspection could take approximately 30 minutes per home.

Columbia Gas crews from other locations around the state are reportedly arriving in the area to assist with the restoration of service.  Columbia Gas says employees will work non-stop to restore service and relight appliances in homes and businesses.

If impacted customers are planning to leave their homes,the mayor's office asks that you please leave contact information on your door or with a neighbor so that Columbia Gas' crews can gain access to the home to reestablish service.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is working with Columbia Gas, the City of Elyria and the Lorain County EMA to provide a warm place for these customers to go.

A shelter has been opened at the East Park Recreation Center, located at 1101 Prospect Street in Elyria.

Those who need assistance or transportation to the shelter should call (440) 284-0357.

The Red Cross is prepared to open additional shelters if necessary.

Columbia Gas reportedly told the mayor's office that customers in the impacted area who need alternative housing other than the East Park Recreation Center can email ohlodging@nisource.com or call 1-800-272-5440.

The Elyria Fire Department is urging residents not to use auxiliary heating methods, according to the mayor's office.

Additionally, Elyria City Schools are closed Friday, November 30 due to this incident.  The district released the following statement on Facebook, reading in part:

"This interruption in service necessitates the need to close all schools in the district. While the service interruption is primarily centered on the East side of town, it impacts Elyria High School and several other buildings. Elyria High houses the central kitchen which provides food to all schools in the district, therefore its closure necessitates the closure of all schools in the district."

Columbia Gas says customers are safe, however, if you smell gas to please go to a safe place and call 911, as well as Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077.

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