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Freezing temps knock out heat in Nassau Co. community

January 23, 2013 3:40:21 PM PST
Heat is returning to homes in the Island Park neighborhood, but overnight a number homeowners found their homes freezing cold.

Bundled up in several layers under a jacket, Jane Hirsch sat in her home wrapped up even more in a blanket and wearing gloves hoping that she and her husband, Steve would soon feel the return of heat to her home.

"It's quite an emergency. Fortunately, there are no babies on the block, but there are old people," Steve Hirsch said.

Even with a new furnace, replaced after Superstorm Sandy, the Hirsch's and many of their neighbors in a four block area found their gas service non-existent on the coldest days of this winter season.

"We feel better that we are not the only ones. That it's the whole block," Jane Hirsch said.

Neighbors say they had their gas service restored during Thanksgiving week. With new meters and furnaces, everything seemed to be working until this latest Arctic freeze.

"When I placed the phone call last night they said it would be a few hours. That was at 8:30 last night. When I called again this morning at 5:30, she wouldn't even give me a time frame," Susan Perrone said.

As storm-related repair work was continuing in Perrone's home, she had a portable heater going to stay warm, while outside National Grid utility crews began arriving and discovering moisture in the gas lines had frozen, shutting off the flow to homes.

"There was a water intrusion during Sandy. We knew this was going to happen. We were anticipating this. There is some water in the main. It's a bit of moisture that has been able to get to the regulators," Wendy Ladd, National Grid representative, said.

Work crews go in then and de-ice the regulators.

"The heat will go on for maybe two hours, three hours and then it goes off again and you lose all the heat and your house becomes cold again," Perrone said.

Utility crews wrapped the pipes with heat tape as they begin the much larger work of finding how the moisture is getting into the system.

"We're setting up a command post tonight we'll be here through the night. No one will be without heat tonight," Ladd said.

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