Hundreds in Coalville left without gas service Friday amid freezing temperatures

Posted at 2:35 PM, Jan 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 23:42:37-05

COALVILLE, Utah -- Hundreds of homes and businesses in Coalville were left without heat Friday. Questar said the cold temperatures froze some of their equipment in one of their sub stations, shutting down gas lines across town for hours.

More than 60 Questar employees from Springville to Evanston went into basements to relight close to 600 furnaces.

"We don't want to be freezing water lines in their houses and stuff, we don't want to inconvenience anybody," said Seth Plaizer of Questar.

Questar started receiving calls from customers around 7 a.m. that gas lines were not working.

"I looked at the thermometer and it was 15 below zero, and so I looked at my husband and said, 'We better call somebody I think the furnace might be out,'" said lifelong Coalville resident Meresa Judd.

She said this was one of the worst possible days to be stuck without heat.

"I haven't been this cold since I was probably a teenager walking to school," Judd said. "Your nose hurts, your head hurts, your ears are just about to freeze right off."

Questar fixed the broken equipment pretty quickly, but in order to turn the gas back on there is no master switch, they must go into every single home and business affected. The last gas line wasn't expected to be restored until 10 p.m.

While residents used space heaters and layers of clothing to stay warm, many businesses were forced to close.

"It's disappointing because you expect to be doing work and instead you think about all the money you are going to lose," said Andrea Hewson, owner of Bunny's Club.

Hewson said there is a silver lining through all of this. The North Summit High School gymnasium was opened for people to come and stay warm. The Red Cross was also there for assistance, but no one showed up.

"It means that neighbors are taking care of neighbors, the community is helping each other, and that's always the first line of defense," said Tom Aston of the Red Cross.

Anyone with questions about the outage can call 1-800-323-5517. The map below shows the approximate area affected by the outage.

A map showing the area of a gas outage in Coalville January 6, 2016. Image courtesy Summit County Sheriff's Office.

A map showing the area of a gas outage in Coalville January 6, 2016. Image courtesy Summit County Sheriff's Office.