LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Porter Ranch residents affected by the ongoing natural gas leak are now getting more help to get help.
Under an agreement reached Wednesday, the Southern California Gas Co. will relocate residents within 24 to 72 hours of their request to leave.
At least 1,700 residents have been relocated so far, and two schools have closed.
"It's really something here that's going to force the gas company to do what they said they're going to do," said Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney Jim Clark.
The utility also promised to hire two retired judges as mediators for residents who are not satisfied with the gas company's response.
Plus, SoCal Gas will also provide security to protect the vacated homes and board the residents' pets.
"We're working hard to satisfy the community," said Mike Mizrahi of SoCal Gas Company. "We agreed with the city that we would implement a dispute resolution plan for any residents that feel dissatisfied with the process."
According to Vice President of Customer Service for SoCal Gas Company Gillian Wright, the company is working with 17 relocation agencies and adding other resources to assist residents. She said the company is "committed to best efforts to accommodate all residents in neighboring communities who need relocation, including people with disabilities and access and functional needs."
Residents have complained of nausea, nosebleeds, dizziness and headaches since natural gas was found leaking on Oct. 23 at SoCal Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility above Porter Ranch.
Crews are in the first phase of drilling a relief well that will ultimately allow them to cap the leak. But the process is expected to take three to four more weeks.
The company has been hit with at least two lawsuits, including one filed by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
A resource community center located at 19731 Rinaldi Street in the Porter Ranch Town Center is open seven days a week to help affected residents with the relocation process, file a claim and hear how to reduce odor in their homes.
For updates regarding progress on repair efforts, click here or call (818) 435-7707.
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