By Edward Gunts, The Baltimore Sun
8:13 PM EST, February 19, 2012
Natural gas and water service have been restored to most of the approximately 1,000 southwest Baltimore households that lost them as a result of pipe breaks Tuesday, city officials say.
As of Sunday afternoon, about 25 households were still waiting for plumbers to make minor repairs and relight furnaces, stoves and water heaters, according to Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for Baltimore's public works department. Water service was restored to the area by late Tuesday, he said.
Kocher said the house-by-house repair work was running ahead of schedule. He credited the progress to a good working relationship among city employees and contractors, the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and residents of the two affected communities, Mill Hill and Carrollton Ridge.
"The cooperation has been outstanding between the various governmental agencies and BGE," Kocher said. "It couldn't have gone any better than it is. The citizens have been very understanding and thankful for the work that has been done...In the vast majority of cases, the plumbers have been getting work done much sooner than anticipated."
Although the city had a shelter available for area residents, no one asked to stay overnight, he said. Some residents picked up water, meals and blankets there.
Connie Fowler, president of the Carrollton Ridge Community Association and a resident of the 400 block of S. Bentalou St., said the repair work has been handled very well.
"BGE and the city were on the job right away. They've really been working," she said Sunday. "I think they did a great job so far. I didn't hear any complaints from anybody."
Portions of the two communities lost service Tuesday morning after a 10-inch water main broke in the 300 block of Millington Ave., followed by a rupture in a 4-inch gas line above it.
About 100 homes lost water, along with a senior citizens community on Millington Avenue and Frederick Elementary School.
Natural gas service had to be cut off to about 900 buildings in the area, according to BGE, because water entered the ruptured gas line and crews had to turn off the natural gas so the water could be drained.
Kocher said 60 plumbers and others worked throughout the weekend with residents to enter homes, relight appliances and make sure all repairs complied with city codes. He said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake visited the community Thursday and Public Works Director Alfred Foxx has come to the area numerous times, most recently Sunday.
Kocher said representatives from the Baltimore housing department and other city agencies would be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Samuel Morse Recreation Center, 424 S. Pulaski St., to address lingering issues and answer questions from residents. City officials will work to process any claims made by area residents within 30 days of receiving them, he added.
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