MORE than 100 people were left without heating in Marsden yesterday – as temperatures dropped to -6ºC in some areas.
MORE than 100 homes were left without heating in Marsden yesterday – as temperatures dropped to -6ºC in some areas.
Gas engineers worked for hours to try and locate the problems, caused when water seeped into gas pipes.
And Kirklees Council set up an emergency centre in the village to try and help residents.
The problems began on Tuesday evening when Janet Maude, of Carr Street, was out walking her dogs near Rose Hill Park.
She said: “There was a really strong smell of gas so I rang it through as an emergency. Engineers were here within 30 minutes.
“Strangely enough, six or so years ago I did exactly the same thing then.”
A full-scale emergency operation to care for the vulnerable, including a 90-year-old Alzheimer’s sufferer, swung into action at the Mechanics Institute where senior engineers and council staff organised help in a specially convened operations room.
Among them were Sean Westerby, the council’s corporate safety and resilience team manager and Jason Shirazi, principal emergency planning officer.
Sean said: “One hundred and twenty-five properties were without gas from 7pm after water has got into the gas mains so they are having to purge the system.
“Our main concern is with vulnerable people. The wellbeing integration team are going out knocking on doors and checking that people are all right.”
Kirklees mayor David Ridgway, who represents Marsden, called in to the institute yesterday morning to check on progress.
He said: “The first thing I would like to say is that I am very pleased that engineers were here so quickly. It’s really important that any breakage or leakage can be put right immediately.”
A spokeswoman from Northern Gas Networks said yesterday lunchtime: “Our engineers have found the leak and are reconnecting vulnerable customers to the gas supply this afternoon.
“They will be working around the clock to get the remaining customers reconnected as soon as possible.”
Engineers began visiting the affected properties yesterday morning to safely isolate gas supplies and were also working to pump water out of the system.
The streets affected were: Carrs Road, Carrs Sidestreet 1 and 2 , Meltham Road, Woods Avenue and Woods Terrace.
Northern Gas Networks and Kirklees Council set up a customer drop-in centre at the Mechanics Institute in Peel Street where residents received up-to-date information about the incident as well as hot refreshments.
And the council was busy identifying any vulnerable people who might need extra support during the disruption.
Officers worked with engineers from Northern Gas Networks to deliver provisions, including electric hotplates and heaters, to these customers.
Northern Gas Networks customer operation’s area manager, Dennis Langham, apologised for the inconvenience caused by the temporary loss of the town’s gas supply.
He said: “The safety of our customers is our number one priority and we are currently working hard to identify the problem and restore gas supplies as quickly as possible to the people of Marsden. We appreciate their co-operation and understanding and would urge anyone who is affected to check on the welfare of neighbours, especially the elderly.”
The utility company had to visit every affected property and purge the gas supply system checking for leaks and air before being able to switch supplies back on.
A spokesman said: “This is a standard safety procedure and has to be strictly followed.
“We managed to get into 50 properties by 4.30pm, but obviously some people were out at work.
“We worked well into the evening and hoped to have everyone reconnected by 10pm.”
Northern Gas Networks also reminded customers to always check the identity of anyone who calls at their door.
Engineers carry ID cards and are always happy to show them.
Members of the public can call the customer service team on 0191 5116940 if they have a question about this incident.
The spokeswoman added: “Anyone who smells gas should call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 immediately, calls are answered at any time of day or night and an engineer will be sent out to assess the situation promptly.”