Water-main, gas-line breaks affect service to 1,600 homes, businesses in Balto. County

Two elementary schools in Overlea closed today

October 25, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The number of homes and businesses affected by a combination water-main break and leaking gas line in Overlea grew to 1,600 yesterday after officials with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. discovered that water had gotten into a gas main along Belair Road.

The problem prompted the Baltimore County school system to announce the closing today of two area elementary schools - Fullerton and Elmwood.

Water was restored to about 210 homes and 13 businesses late Saturday, hours after the dual breaks, which caused several furnace fires on Cardwell Avenue, were discovered.

But restoring gas has been much more difficult, said BGE spokeswoman Linda Foy. Utility workers initially found water in a damaged 6-inch gas line on Cardwell Avenue. They later discovered water in an undamaged 10-inch line on Belair Road that is connected to the smaller line, she said.

To pump the water out of the lines, utility workers must shut off the gas to about 1,600 customers, she said - each to be done individually, in many cases by crews going inside the residence or business, she said.

Residents in the affected area who have inside meters must make sure BGE workers can get into their homes, Foy said. The area is roughly bounded by the Beltway to the north, Belair Road to the west, Dale Avenue to the east and Kenwood Avenue to the south, she said.

Once the line is clear of water, utility workers will have to relight affected customers' pilot lights from inside their homes.

Work "will definitely go into tomorrow," Foy said. "I can't be more specific yet."

In the meantime, neighbors such as Bob Potter are making do. "You can always throw on one more cover," he said.

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