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New Worry For Homeowners In Gas Leak Evacuation Area

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - In Northwest Dallas, thousands of homeowners are heading into the weekend without natural gas service-- and with a new worry.

Atmos Energy is warning homeowners of imposters posing as Atmos workers and asking for keys.

"If you are approached, please ask to see the technician's badge. Under no circumstances would legitimate Atmos Energy employees or technicians request keys to your home," reads an afternoon update from the company. "Please call 911 if you are approached by someone asking for your keys-- even if they are wearing Atmos Energy uniforms."

Meanwhile, at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center-- one of two Dallas rec centers serving as clearinghouses for Atmos information and compensation-- the lines have dwindled and homeowners say the panic appears to be easing.

"Oh, honey, we came and we just got in the parking lot and turned around and went back home," says Nancy Birdwell of the lines that greeted the couple on Thursday. "It was just unbelievable!"

The Birdwells say they still have service; but, with the scope of the repairs so massive and so close to their home, they dropped by to learn if they should expect the service area to expand.

"I really want to find out what they're going to be doing on my block and when they're going to start it," says Birdwell. "If it's going to be mandatory and that sort of thing."

Either way, the couple plans to stay in their home because it would be too difficult to manage in a hotel with their cat.

Joe Cutler found Thursday's line too difficult to manage.

"There was a line around the block," says Cutler with a grimace. "Today I walked in, there was a line of about 10 people... two to three minutes! Worked out fast. Real, real, easy."

Cutler, too, says he has too many pets to care for, so he'll skip the hotel-- except for an occasional hot shower.

Another homeowner who asked only to be identified as Kyle says he will likely stay in a hotel to get some sleep and avoid the noise of 24/7 repairs. And then there's the safety issue.

"They're telling me it's safe, but it's a 30-foot hole behind the house next to me-- so I don't know who to believe or what's going on," said Kyle.


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