Update 9:15 p.m. Saturday
ALL RESIDENTS MAY RETURN TO THE EVACUATED AREAS OF THE SOUTHWINDS NEIGHBORHOOD, however, the following ten homes are still without power and homeowners are asked to wait outside their home until ATMOS crews arrive to do additional testing:
1520, 1522, 1524 and 1526 Glendale
4512 and 4514 Westridge
1521, 1523 and 1525 Primrose.
EARLIER SATURDAY EVENING
Wichita Fall, Texas- A gas leak that entered the City sewer system forced the evacuation of the Southwinds neighborhood Saturday evening by the Wichita Falls Fire Depart. The affected area is approximately one square mile.
Northern Boundary: Weeks Street
Southern: Norman Street
East: Jacksboro Highway
West: Lake Park Drive
The call came in at approximately 5:00 p.m. Atmos Energy crews found the leak in the alley between Primrose and Glendale and informed the Fire Department that levels in the sewer system had reached dangerous levels and an evacuation was necessary. The lines had not been cut due to digging or other means.
Fire Department personnel and ATMOS crews began a door-to-door effort to inform residents of the emergency and the need to evacuate. Officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department established a perimeter and patrolled neighborhood streets.
In conjunction with the door-to-door evacuation effort the City issued a Code Red call to all homes in the affected area to again to inform them of the need to evacuate.
At 7 p.m. ONCOR Electric cut power to the 233 homes within the perimeter to prevent the chance of accidentally igniting the gas. Temporary housing was established in a hanger at Kickapoo Airport.
The Health Department was on hand to assist with any questions from area food establishments and Animal Control was on site to address any pet needs.
By 7:45 p.m. eight homes had been identified as the most heavily affected. The electric meters to these homes were pulled, gas levels were checked inside and outside the homes and as they were deemed safe the meters were reconnected.