SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Columbia Gas Company made arrangements Tuesday night to set up a “warming center” for North End residents who had no heat because of a “low gas pressure” situation.
Columbia Gas spokeswoman Andrea Luppi told 22News that they’d been getting calls at the call center from people complaining about a lack of natural gas. “We had a drop in pressure in a gas main,” said Luppi. “We’ve had crews working on it since earlier today (Tuesday).”
Luppi said the company was calling the 24 homes involved to tell them they could go to a warming center set up at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club at 481 Carew Street. Temperatures were in the teens in Springfield. The warming center was opened at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Late Tuesday night, Columbia Gas said they found the problem and contained it at the intersection of Narragansett and Lexington streets. Gas should be turned back on to all homes by Midnight, but shelter will remain open until 7:00 a.m. regardless.
The affected neighborhoods were in Springfield’s Memorial Square and Liberty Heights. “The 24 addresses involved are two-family homes,” said Luppi. “It’s likely 48 families are affected.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno contacted 22News to say that the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services was operating a warming center for affected residents. Food would be provided by Sodexo and cot beds provided by the Salvation Army. Springfield police officers would be present at the warming center.
Springfield Police Lt Brian Keenan told 22News, “Commissioner Barbieri has authorized police officers to be stationed at the warming center, and extra patrols in the affected neighborhood for the duration of the problem.”
Emergency Preparedness Director Bob Hassett reminded affected residents to turn off all appliances and leave water running, so pipes didn’t freeze, before leaving their homes.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I’m very thankful to the Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army and Sodexo for their assistance in making sure our residents are taken care of during this time, and we will work with the appropriate city departments and Columbia Gas to resolve this situation as soon as possible.”