H-ATASCADERO

Mar 25, 2013 8:44 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Natural gas outage hits local businesses

A natural gas outage this weekend forced several local businesses in Atascadero to shut their doors and now business owners don't know when they'll reopen.

SoCal Gas officials say a water main broke and water entered the gas line.

The main areas affected are between Highway 41 and Traffic Way.

As many as 1,000 residents and several businesses have been impacted.

Southern California Gas officials say they have to get the water out of the gas pipes before they start going door to door and they aren't sure how long it will take to fix the problem, which means homeowners may be without gas for several days.

Local business owners will also be affected and say if they keep their doors closed, it will be a major problem for business.

"We've had a lot of people come shake the door and with the sign up, they see that and they are surprised," said Jack Dorris, owner of Colby Jack's Café and Bakery, who has had to stop the baking for now.

"It is a big deal," said Dorris.

He says because of the natural gas outage, there's no hot water to run his business, so the oven doors stay shut and the bakery cases remain empty.

He says it's a bakery owner's nightmare.

"It's not just revenue coming into us, it's what the employees take home and they could be out for as much as a week," said Dorris.

Next door at the Carlton Hotel, the rooms are empty.

"This is a huge deal," said Deana Alexander, the general manager of the Carlton Hotel.

Alexander says she's had to direct guests to other hotels and is losing business.

"This is the beginning of our busy season," said Alexander.

The day before the gas outage, the hotel was booked.

"If this would have happened on Saturday it would have been devastating," said Alexander.

They don't know when it's safe to reopen, so for now, the doors at both businesses stay closed.

Officials with the Southern California Gas Company say residents should not do anything with their gas meter and if they have already turned their meter off, to leave it off. They are also working on delivering a letter to every home that's been impacted.

SoCal Gas set up a command post at Lewis and Entrada Avenue for any customers who need more information.

Anyone with questions about the outage can visit the command post or call the gas company at 661-699-5089.

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