Jackson officials say power outage, natural gas leak related

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Although they shared a nice meal at a local restaurant late Monday afternoon, Jackson couple Daryl and Connie Riddle spent much of their Valentine's Day evening in the dark -- in more ways than one.

The Riddles' home was one of at least two dozen that were affected by a power outage that Jim Roach, city administrator, said was caused by a malfunction in an underground electrical line shortly after 3 p.m. The malfunction affected water and natural gas lines leading to an entire neighborhood evacuation in the residential area late afternoon.

Police let the Riddles back into their home at 2226 Old Cape Road, on the rim of the outage, even after they had evacuated the area. A police officer blocking traffic at Donna Drive and Old Cape Road about 6:15 p.m. said they were letting people through to Kimbel Woods Drive.

Without power and without water like the majority of residents on Old Cape Road from Donna Street to Smith Trail, the Riddles lit the few votive candles they had after dinner and waited. The Riddles said they didn't mind the hindrance but would have liked to know more about what was going on.

"Now we'll just sit in the dark and wait," Connie Riddle said. "And if the power isn't back on before we go to sleep, I guess we'll just go to bed."

"Luckily, it's not that cold outside," said Daryl Riddle, who added that he was contemplating hooking up a generator from his motor home. "We've been through that before."

Roach said the evacuation was mostly a precaution taken by the gas company. Still, a strong gas odor lingered in the neighborhood well past 6 p.m.

Police were letting some residents, from Smith Trail to Drew Avenue, into their homes around 7:15 p.m., and the roads were open and power was restored by 8 p.m.

Charles Williams of 880 Donna Drive said he had power in his home but was without water. It was about 4 p.m. when he went to check his water line, but he saw fire crews and police in area addressing the issue.

Although he hadn't experienced an outage like it before, he said he was only slightly concerned with when his water would be turned back on.

"It's OK. It's just one of those things," he said.

Crews from the city's electrical, water, police and fire departments remained on scene until power was restored. Atmos Energy also remained on scene.

All worked together to seal any leaks and resolve the issue, but Roach said restoring everyone's power really relied on the gas company. They had to resolve their issue first, he said, and then the electric company would restore power.

"We wouldn't want to trigger anything -- an explosion, for example," Roach said at the scene.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

Old Cape Road, Jackson, MO

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