Gas service disappears for several days in Denver neighborhood

DENVER — For nearly 200 homeowners on Denver’s east side, they are going into day 6 without gas and hot water.  And now their neighborhood looks like a major construction zone.

Xcel Energy and Denver Water are having a very tough time finding a small water line break which has allowed water to seep into gas lines in a 20 square block area bounded by 6th Ave. on the south, Holly St. on the east, 12th Ave. on the north and Grape St. on the west.

The area does include a portion of Hale Parkway which runs off 8th Ave. and Glencoe St.

“We have never seen anything like this,” said neighbor Sandy Houston. “We’ve been without service for five days, we’ve been forced to shower at the rec center and basically eat out for nearly a week.”

Other neighbors say they have been taking the situation in stride.

“We have been cooking on the barbeque grill and showering at a neighbor’s home who has electric hot water heaters hooked up,” said Natalie Wren. “It has been a nightmare, but we are dealing as best we can.”

Mark Stutz of Xcel says they are looking for the “needle in a haystack” when it comes to finding the tiny hole which is letting water leak into gas pipes.

He thinks the two types of pipes—gas and water—may have fused together over time and simply opened each other up, so to speak.

 Another thought is that a pipe could have been on top of an old well that collapsed underground, in reality they simply don’t know where the leak is or what caused it. They won’t know for sure until they find the point of origin.

By late Wednesday, about 35 homes had been put back on the grid. And most of the homeowners in the area, who had gas meters in their basements, will get a break on the $6,000 dollar replacement cost of relocating the meters to the outside of their homes.

As one neighbor put it, “There is always a silver lining!”

Xcel has dozens of rigs and workers in the area working nearly around the clock, trying to get everyone’s service restored.