Families begin another week of waiting for natural gas repairs

Thousands of North Texans are starting another week away from home because of natural gas issues.

Atmos Energy crews are still installing new pipes that will eventually give those who live in some 2,800 homes some peace of mind.

A spokesperson for the family of the 12-year-old girl killed in the explosion announced plans Saturday to speak to the media Sunday, but canceled at the last minute, saying the mother was not feeling well.

Many in the neighborhood have been forced out of their homes for a week creating a lot of stress.

Patricia Vega and her four children were evacuated from their Northwest Dallas apartment. That scare came two days after 12-year-old Linda Michelle Rogers when her nearby home exploded due to a gas leak, and the two gas-related fires and explosions in the neighborhood before that.

“In one day, you had to change all your life,” she said.

Vega and her kids are staying at her parents' apartment across the street. She's received some of the $1.25 million dollars Atmos has paid families who are affected. Many of her neighbors are staying in hotel rooms paid for by Atmos. She's concerned about the toll it's taking on her children.

“I had to talk with a counselor at school so they can explain more for them about the situation in the area why we had to evacuate, what happened with the child who died,” she said.

Dallas ISD says attendance at the nearest elementary school dipped the day after the evacuation, from an average of 31 students absent the week before to 139 students absent that day.

Atmos says it could be two more weeks before service is fully restored. An update from Atmos Saturday says the company has helped more than 2,000 residents through information centers set up at the Bachman and Walnut Hill rec centers. The company blames shifting soil, aging pipes and heavy rain as part of the reason for the leaks.