Gas outage affects 2,000 in Fort Pierce

Posted at 7:29 AM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-14 07:29:33-05

The Fort Pierce Utilities Authority expects to restore natural gas to 2,000 of its customers by Monday night. Residents and businesses in downtown Fort Pierce have been without natural gas since Saturday evening, according to FPUA.

Officials said the outage is due to low pressure throughout the gas system. FPUA has brought in crews from neighboring utility authorities to help fix the problem and restore natural gas to customers.

Restaurants have had a particularly hard time with the outage. As many as 20 restaurants have been unable to use their stoves or ovens without gas. Some restaurants in the area closed their doors Sunday, while others offered a limited menu.

At Cobb's Landing, the limited menu was mostly sandwiches, salads and tacos.

"We lost a couple of big parties," said Donna Burke, the manager. "People kind of left because they couldn't have a steak or couldn't have a burger."

The outage forced Burke to turn off the stoves and grills.

"It's a huge economic impact," said Burke, who says profits took about a 50 percent hit. "Not just for us. I talked to several businesses and it's definitely huge."

Some customers made the best of the situation.

"We came in mind to have some fish and shrimp," said Arlene Moore, a customer at Cobb's. "We ended up getting tacos and it was still delicious."

Low pressure could cause the pilot light to blow out, allowing gas to build up and create a dangerous situation.
FPUA urges anyone who smells natural gas to leave the area immediately and call FPUA at 772-466-1600 to report the problem.

Customers affected by the outage are asked to keep gates unlocked and pets penned up until gas is restored. Utility workers are stopping by every residence to make sure it's safe to turn the gas back on.