Natural gas almost fully restored in Fort Pierce

Posted at 7:37 PM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-19 21:17:34-05

UPDATE: The Fort Pierce Utilities Authority says crews have restored natural gas service to 93% of their customers. 

Officials say if customers have a yellow tag on their door, it means crews have been coming by to restore your service but you were not available.



FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- 2400 homes and businesses in Fort Pierce are still without natural gas following a gas outage over the weekend.

The Fort Pierce Utility Authority says the soonest the natural gas will be restored is Tuesday afternoon.

FPUA spokesperson, Jason Van Hoffman, says the pressure for the natural gas system dropped sometime Saturday.

"We're sorry. We know something went wrong and we're taking responsibility and trying to do everything we can to make up for it," Hoffman said.

Fort Pierce utility crews, with the help of utility employees from Clearwater and Leesburg, tried going to each individual home and business impacted by the outage Monday.

Van Hoffman says crews were only able to make it to about half of the locations impacted.

"You know why it takes so long is because sometimes customers aren't home. Their gates are locked, they have animals in the backyard. It's just being able to get out there and access the meter and turn it off," Van Hoffman said.

Once all of the meters are turned off, FPUA can restore pressure to the natural gas system. Then, workers will have to go back to each individual home and business to turn the gas back on which will also be time consuming.

Downtown Fort Pierce businesses are having to operate on limited menus, or close.

"They keep telling us maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow. They just came back today and said maybe tomorrow," said the 2nd Street Bistro owner, Gary Sofen.

Sofen says his kitchen staff is limited to making sandwiches and salads, and only some heated items that can be made in electric ovens.

"No conch fritters, no calamari, no fries. We can't do any of that stuff," Sofen said.

So is the situation down the road at Krazyfish Sushi, serving only sushi and nothing that needs to be cooked.

Some businesses are closed completely until gas is restored.

It's causing some business owners to take a big hit financially. "Certainly the holiday parties and with the boat parade and the amount of traffic we expected for the weekend, it hurt us," Sofen said.

Residents like Roscoe Hall are left taking cold showers, and cooking with the microwave.

"I got up to take a shave and a shower and I couldn't get anything but cold water after about three minutes. I felt a little shaky," Hall said.

The cause of the outage is still being investigated.