GEORGETOWN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Nearly 7 weeks in and still many homes and businesses remain evacuated in Georgetown following a natural gas leak found earlier this year. The impacted area is shrinking according to Atmos Energy.
47 evacuations have been lifted so far.
While the leak was fixed, Atmos crews continue to keep their word on working around the clock to remove the natural gas which leaked into the soil. While several businesses are now able to open their doors once again, they are now facing other problems.
Life is slowly returning to a once barren parking lot. “It feels great, it feel good, your in your own surroundings you’re in your place your home,” said Sonya Martinez.
Jacque’s Solon, the place Martinez works at, was one of the dozens of businesses who were forced to evacuate following a natural gas leak found near Williams Drive in Georgetown back in February.
For weeks Martinez had to look for work elsewhere, even chose to travel to clients homes in order to style hair. “That kept me afloat with everything that’s going on,” said Martinez.
With the evacuation on their building now lifted, Martinez learned their staff at the salon got much smaller. “It’s only us 2, Jacque and myself,” said Martinez.
3 of their hairstylists chose not to return following the evacuation. “They moved on but they’re ok, they’re in a good place,” said Martinez. Despite all this, with their Solon back in businesses Martinez says she’s staying optimistic. “Just rebuild keep the doors open,” said Martinez.
Not everyone is able to return to the area, nearly 7 weeks since the incident crews continue to work around the clock to remove the gas which leaked into the soil. While the impacted area of the gas leak is getting smaller there is still a ways to go Atmos Energy has lifted 47 evacuation but there are still a little more then 90 buildings which can’t have people return.
“I’m just giving these guys times so they can do what whatever they’re going to do to call us back to go home,” said Pedro Ochoa. Ochoa was one of the first people evacuated, while he said it’s rough living this long away from home he doesn’t want to a place which isn’t safe.
“I don’t want to rush them because as I’ve said before gas is a very dangerous thing a lot of people don’t understand but they need to understand that blowing up your house completely off the slabs in no fun,” said Ochoa.
For now both Ochoa and Martinez are hopeful for the day the area returns to normal once again.
In a community meeting with Atmos Energy they said they have brought in a lot of resources from out of state to help speed up the process. In order for them to lift an evacuation the building can’t have any gas readings inside or around the area for 24 hours.