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Almost half the population of the Village of Crooksville is without heat.
With around 1,000 Crooksville residents without natural gas service, Crooksville Mayor Darrell Lantz declared the village under a state of emergency. Crooksville Fire Chief Ralph Hill says the department was notified of the outage around 7:30 Wednesday morning.
"We had hundreds of calls saying their gas was out. So we internally contacted Columbia Gas and the corporate office contacted us," said Hill.
According to Columbia Gas, the outage was caused because of "an interruption in the supply of natural gas from the pipeline supplier to the distribution system pipelines." Chief Hill says the fire station, the Perry County EMA Office and New Lexington High School have all been designated as warming shelters for residents needing a place to stay, but only a few residents took advantage of the shelters.
"Hopefully once the word gets out and they realize they just can't stay in their house as cold as it is," said Marlene Henderson, executive director of the Muskingum Valley Red Cross.
The fire department has transportation available to and from the designated shelters. The shelters will remain open until Columbia Gas restores heat to every home, which could last through the evening. You can find updates at www.ColumbiaGasOhio.com.