Updated at 9:50 p.m. with church service arrangements.
A break of the city’s main gas line near Pine Grove has resulted in service being shut off to all Baldwyn city gas customers, and it could take several hours or even a day to restore service completely.
Speaking to The Baldwyn News around 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Mayor Michael James said customers should be prepared to put electric heaters into service to handle the cold tonight as gas service might not be able to be restored to every home and customer until Sunday.
In the meantime, all customers can do is wait – but there is no need to shut off pilot lights. City employees will assist all customers with re-establishing service. That is what could take so long.
“We have about 1,500 customers and we already have six guys out turning off meters at all houses and businesses,” James said. “We’ve got a guy here working to fix the pipe now. After the pipe is fixed we will need to go to each house and turn the meter back on to make sure the lines are bled of any air before we can go in and relight pilot lights. This is going to take some time. We may get some on tonight, but it may also take another day. We’re working as fast as we can.”
James said the line was broken when a man was digging on his own property with an excavator and struck the gas main.
Not having gas service to heat homes and water or run businesses is a horrible inconvenience, especially with temperatures tonight expected to dip back down to freezing, and James said he asks for customers to have patience and be aware city workers could be coming into their yards tonight and in the morning to access gas meters.
“This is affecting me the same as it is everyone else,” James said. “We’ve had to shut down our restaurant tonight and we won’t have gas at our home either.”
Change of plans
Late Saturday Baldwyn Nursing Facility began moving patients to Tupelo as the nursing home was without heat. It’s also a reminder that if you have electric heat and are able, be sure to check in on elderly neighbors and those with small children to make sure they have sufficient heat as well.
The uncertainty over when service would be restored also led several churches in the city to either cancel, delay or move their services.
Westside Baptist Church announced late Saturday that Sunday morning services for Jan. 27 were being cancelled due to the anticipated lack of heat. First Christian Church planned to meet at 10:45 a.m. for only a brief worship service. “Dress a little warmer than normal and come out for prayer, communion and a short devotion,” their announcement said. Mt. Olive Baptist Church announced cancellation of both morning and evening services for Jan. 27.
Ingram Baptist Church members will meet, although in a different location. There, Pastor Jason Webb announced late Saturday that the church will meet at Fill My Cup in Downtown Baldwyn at 10 a.m. That building’s heat is electric, and business owner Tammy Lee offered the use of her shop for church services. The shop itself will not be open for business.