LORAIN COUNTY -- Wednesday morning, Columbia Gas says a few hundred of the 2,700 homes and businesses that were affected by a large natural gas outage since Monday evening are still without gas.
Mostly Columbia Gas customers in North Ridgeville, including the neighborhoods of Pioneer Ridge and Waterbury; southeastern Elyria; and Eaton Township were affected.
Columbia Gas had hoped to have all service restored by midnight Wednesday, however, crews were forced to temporarily halt their efforts because of a spike in demand. Homeowners who had service newly restored, were taxing the system, as they tried to reheat their homes. After about 2 hours, crews resumed their work around 11pm. Officials expect everyone to have gas service restored sometime Wednesday.
However, at least one business sustained significant damage because of the outage. Wasabi Japanese Restaurant in Chestnut Commons experienced frozen and cracked pipes in its fire sprinkler system. The return of gas heat caused the pipes to burst, flooding the restaurant.
Columbia Gas spokesman Ray Frank tells Channel 3's Tom Beres that they are still not exactly sure what caused the outage, but it seems to be a delivery problem from a supplier south and east of here, possibly in southern Cuyahoga County or northern Medina County.
Frank said it is not a question of adequate supplies.
Another spokesperson for Columbia said Wednesday morning that the issue is "still being investigated."
Columbia Gas crews are asking homeowners who are home to put their porch lights on -- even in the daylight -- so they can know who is home. Homeowners who are not home should leave a note on their front door telling crews how they can be contacted.
Crews need to get inside each of the homes to restore service.
Crews say the restoration process is a two-phase process. The first phase includes shutting off all gas to the impacted homes. The second phase involves crews performing safety checks and relighting service.
Police are working with the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency to set up shelters for affected residents. One such shelter was set up at St. Mary's Hall, 320 Middle Ave., Elyria.