FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio - Early morning on Monday, Jan. 24, in Fairport Harbor, a town of approximately 3,200 people, a natural gas emergency occurred. The cause was due to the pressure regulators on the town’s low-pressure natural gas lines failing, sending too much gas to residences, none of which have a high-pressure gas valve outside the home.

Ten fires broke out and residents were told to evacuate their homes, but later were told to go back to their homes, none of which had any heat.

The utilities called in HVAC contractors with which they had agreements. The contractors inspected the gas-fired furnaces and water heaters for damage; some of the equipment had damaged gas valves due to too much pressure from the amount of gas that entered the house.

According to Pam Thompson, Kish Heating & Cooling, Painesville, Ohio, the contractors came in and performed the inspections while cancelling all of their own regularly scheduled appointments, with the exceptions of no-heat calls.

Scott Robinson, Apple Heating & Cooling, Ashtabula, Ohio, said that a number of contractors who did not have agreements with the utilities heard about the emergency, and offered their assistance, though at least in his company’s case, were told upon arrival that the contractor’s help was not needed.

At press time, it has not been announced as to the cause of the overpressurization of the gas line.

Publication date:02/28/2011