GEORGETOWN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - An end in sight. It’s been nearly 10 weeks since evacuations began in Georgetown following a natural gas leak in the Williams drive area, now only one business remains evacuated.
Atmos Energy tells FOX 7 the last businesses still waiting to be cleared is a funeral home right off Williams Drive.
“We thank the community for the support and we are blessed we are back in business,” said Jaime Fernandez, the co-owner of Mariachis de Jalisco.
Fernandez’s restaurant was one of the dozens of businesses near Williams drive who had to evacuate for 2 months following a near by natural gas leak.
“It was really hard and a very difficult time,” said Fernandez.
The homes and businesses had to be evacuated while crews worked to remove natural gas trapped in the ground. With no established time frame on returning, it seemed like there was no end in sight.
“It was really scary because I was checking with Atmos everyday and they said we go day by day,” said Fernandez. Fernandez said it seems like this gas nightmare is finally coming to an end.
While businesses are opening their doors they now face other challenges.
When the evacuations began nearly 2 months ago businesses put out signs saying their closed, with them back open they’re sporting a different kind of sign.
“Now hiring” signs can be seen on most of the once closed businesses including Fernandez’s restaurant.
“The last 2 years has been difficult on the employments. We’ve been short, with this situation it’s even worse,” said Fernandez.
Many businesses lost employees for being closed for so long. Fernandez said they were able keep most of theirs by transferring them to their sister locations.
“If we didn’t have those options it would be really difficult to keep them because they were looking for something else,” said Fernandez.”
For now Fernandez says he’s just glad to be open once again and is great full for how supportive everyone has been.
Fernandez said he’s not sure they would have lasted if they were closed for just a little bit longer. The longest they ever had to close their doors before this evacuation he says was just 3 days.