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'River' subsides, Charles Street businesses re-open

Repairs on Baltimore water main break continue

November 08, 2012|By Jean Marbella and Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

BGE crews remained on the scene as a precaution, said spokeswoman Rachael Lighty, though none of the natural gas infrastructure has been compromised. She said the company cut gas service as a "proactive measure to ensure the integrity of that gas main."

She did not have an estimate on when the gas service would be completely restored. Customers who have flooded rooms should not walk through standing water if they have not shut off their electricity, Lighty said.

BGE had locksmiths opening the doors to some businesses Thursday morning so crews could shut off gas service.

Sherman Smith, co-owner of Club Choices nightclub, was livid when he found his door had been pried open by a locksmith.

"Who gives BGE authority to break into the building?" Smith said, noting that neither he nor his business partner were contacted. He said he goes to the club everyday but it only opens on Saturdays.

Lighty said the company uses locksmiths only as the last resort. She said the standard procedure is to make several attempts to contact customers, including leaving door hangers with instructions to contact BGE to shut off service. She said automated messages were also sent to customers Wednesday night.

Smith, who also owns the neighboring hair salon, Perfect Touch, had to close on Wednesday and only had a few customers on Thursday morning. But he was hopeful that the after-work crowd would be back now that the water had subsided and traffic was restored.

"I've had a few people walking in," said Smith, who moved his salon to Charles Street about five years ago from Woodlawn. "I wanted to be in the city because of the foot traffic."

Baltimore Sun reporter Ed Gunts contributed to this article.

jean.marbella@baltsun.com

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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