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Fear And Unrest In Northwest Dallas As Gas Leak Evacuations Expand

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Few answers; but, plenty of unrest in a Northwest Dallas community rocked by fires and a fatal house explosion. More evacuations were ordered Wednesday.

"We are in a hurry!" breathed Olga Pena in a rush, standing in a doorway only partly opened. "They said quick! Get out!"

Atmos Energy crews had just knocked on her door, warning her and others in the 3800 block of Cortez to evacuate because of a suspected gas leak.

"Obviously I'm concerned," says Nancy Scott, who says she's lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. "It's all over the neighborhood."

But, in spite of the dozens of Atmos crews and heavy equipment digging on nearly every block, Scott says she thought the neighborhood was safe-- until a knock at the door said otherwise.

Atmos working on gas leaks
Crews with Atmos Energy work on natural gas line in Dallas. (credit: CBS 11 News)

"I'm scared because I've got all kinds of kitties, and a dog in the back," says Scott, who was fretting because she couldn't take them all with her. "I can't take anything. They told me to just grab and get out of there."

Pena says she was puzzled by the evacuation order because neighbors on the next block-- evacuated since last Friday-- were allowed to return just last night.

"Then they let them in and all this was okay," says Pena. "We didn't expect it."

Miguel Moreno was one of those allowed to return. He says his wife called Atmos last week after smelling gas. They were evacuated on Friday, after 12-year-old Linda Rogers was killed in a home explosion.

Dallas House Explosion
Dallas house explosion (credit: CBS 11 News)

"We got a big problem here, in this area," says Moreno. "[A] lot of police, firefighters over here... so when I come here, I'm scared."

Moreno warned that his English wasn't perfect-- but, his concern is crystal clear. When I asked if he was still worried, he paused and nodded, "yeah... yeah."

As of Wednesday afternoon, an emailed update from Atmos said that 182 homes and 90 apartments were still off limits. Crews have restored service to hundreds of previously evacuated homes.

Meanwhile, crews continued to perform what Atmos is calling "safety surveys" in an area bounded by Forest to the North, West to Webb Chapel, East to Lenel and Northwest Highway to the South.

Atmos created a recommended packing list for people who have to leave their homes for a few days.


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