DECATUR -- A pair of accidents disrupted major utilities in Decatur on Sept. 17, putting area residents without natural gas and water services for several hours.
During a routine upgrade to the Decatur's border station, gas pressure was inadvertently lost, causing the interruption of gas service to approximately 500 customers. Black Hills Energy, the natural gas provider for the Decatur area, sent technicians to the area to work on a multi-step process to purge and repressure the system.
Once the system was fixed and ready for service, Black Hills Energy sent several teams to begin restoring gas service to customers in the Decatur area.
Natural gas provides a clean-burning fuel for use in heaters, cookstoves and ovens, and hot water heaters.
While Decatur residents were dealing with the loss of natural gas, residents on Valley Avenue in southern Decatur near the TNT Truck Stop were dealing with yet another issue, no water.
Around 9 a.m. a worker clearing brush on property just north of the truck stop accidentally hit a Decatur Fire Department hydrant, causing a leak that sent torrents of water flowing down Valley Ave. and nearly filling the drainage ditches on the east side of Arkansas 59.
City crews were able to shut off the flow of water to the affected area, enabling workers to fix the broken hydrant and pipe. By late afternoon, water was restored to the area.
But the process of restoring natural gas to Decatur area residents was a little more complicated and Black Hawk Energy strongly advised its customers to wait for their crews to check and restore gas to area homes and businesses.
Black Hills Energy asked its customers to remember the following safety tips:
• Be alert for leaking natural gas. If you smell natural gas, leave the building or area immediately and tell others to leave too.
• After you're safely away from the area, call 911 and its emergency number at 888-890-5554. Never assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak. Alert your neighbors.
• Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cellphone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
• Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.
For more information on restoring gas service contact Black Hills Energy at 1-888-890-5554. For updates on service restoration efforts, customers can visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/town .