JACKSBORO (CBS 11 NEWS) - Texas Gas Service (TGS) was forced to shut down the gas supply to the entire city of Jacksboro Thursday. Most businesses and residents had no heat, on a day when temperatures struggled to get out of the teens.
The lack of services affected adults and children. The Jacksboro Independent School District even sent students home early and businesses closed all over town.
"I felt the cold breeze right in my face," recalled Jacksboro resident Ana Karen. "There's nothing to do [now] but, somehow keep warm."
Trucks were bringing in compressed natural gas (CNG) to supply the small city hospital, senior living center, warming shelter and emergency operations center.
City manager Mike Smith said gas service started repeatedly turning off and on early Thursday morning. With pilot lights going out, there was a risk for gas buildup inside of structures. TGS notified the city it would have to shut off service completely.
TGS said their natural gas supplier informed them that liquid got into the system from an upstream pipeline.
Thursday afternoon, utility crews were on streets all over the city looking for low spots in the lines where liquid may have settled. They dug up lines so liquid could be vacuumed out before restoring service.
"We're small staffed here in the city but I think we'll be able to take care of everything without too much trouble," Smith said.
The city set up emergency shelters at the Jack City Fair Barn and an activity center. Electric heaters were reportedly sold out in city. With few options, some people were opening up ovens to try to heat their homes.
The city fire department, almost entirely volunteer, was preparing for the possibility of house fires, and preparing other cities to respond for back up if needed.
Utility crews will have to physically restore service for some 1,200 customers once it's safe to do so. Smith said crews are already staging in nearby cities so that they can respond quickly when the order comes to turn the gas back on.
Officials with Texas Gas Service said liquid somehow entered the gas distribution system in Jacksboro and, for the safety of customers, forced the company to turn off all natural gas service.
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