Massive effort underway to upgrade Atmos gas system in Northwest Dallas Neighborhood

The family of the 12-year-old girl killed in a gas explosion, announced plans on Saturday to speak to the media Sunday, but canceled at the last minute. The news conference was scheduled for 4pm, but at 4:15 the family spokesperson informed the outlets, which had already arrived for the conference, it would not be taking place because the mother was feeling ill.

 Meanwhile, Atmos Energy crews are working into the night, every night, to upgrade the gas system. Atmos blames shifting soil, aging pipes and heavy rain as part of the reason for the delay. The energy company says it has 120 crews working 7 days a week until the system is replaced and the problem fixed, but that could still take up to three weeks.

Heavy machinery, blocked roads and a lot of dirt have become a regular part of life in the Northwest Dallas neighborhood.  Diana Ayala’s family has an electric stove to cook on, but are without other everyday necessities like hot water because of the gas outage.

“They've been working a lot. You can hear the machines working even during the night and everything,” she said.

Soon, Ayala’s family will have a newborn to care for, her oldest daughter is pregnant with her first child.

“That's why we're concerned right now because she's due the 28th, and I think we're not going to have gas for about three more weeks,” she said.

Others have been dealing with the outage by finding another place with hot water to shower.

“Fortunately for us, we have a membership at the local gym, so we've just been showering there. At first it was kind of embarrassing, we felt homeless in a way, not very fun to deal with but then we saw more families coming in showering as well just like us.” said Emily Lopez

Atmos put some families in hotels, so far helping more than 2,000 affected residents and giving more than $1.25M in assistance.

“…with the house that blew up behind us I think they're dealing with it as well anybody could deal with it. They're not playing around. They're getting it done now and not waiting ‘til later,” said Jon Dryer.

Atmos is asking residents to continue checking the new outage map on their website to see if their home has gas service back on. They've also set up two information centers for residents at walnut hill and Bachman Recreation Centers. Both will be open from 7am to 8pm Sunday.