Moore Families Rebuild Homes, Wait For Gas Service
MOORE, Oklahoma - It'll be six months this week since the deadly May 20 tornado. Many storm victims are still the process of rebuilding their homes, but some say they're running into a major hang-up getting utilities turned on.
The Holeman family says the tornado destroyed half of their new home in Moore, but they've since rebuilt it, and it is finished. Except it doesn't have any gas running, and the family says they're getting no response from their gas company.
The wait has been unbearable for newlyweds Justin and Amanda Holeman. Both are Moore school teachers and are without gas in their home.
"My wife has contacted ONG once a day for the last two weeks, and it's still the same thing, ‘well, we don't know when it's going to be, it could be two weeks, two months, no kind of timeline,'" said Justin Holeman, who coaches at Westmoore High School.
He says Oklahoma Natural Gas told him the gas line to their street has to be checked first, but he feels he's getting the runaround.
He isn't the only one.
Steven Housley says he's been waiting since September to have gas turned on his rebuilt home in Southwest Oklahoma City.
"There is no reason I should have to call them every single day, to get a product that I'm going to pay for to run to my house," Housley said.
"They went through this in the May '99 tornado, so they had to know folks were going to rebuild."
ONG says crews have been working around the clock setting up lines as quickly and safely as possible.
"For risk purposes, we don't want to risk our line getting hit, so we have been trying to follow along with other utilities, but we have certainly been out there and regret that some customers haven't been able to get in touch with us," Cherokee Ballard, Oklahoma Natural Gas said.
"I think a lot of our homes under new construction have certainly outpaced the utilities coming in and trying to redo lines."
Meanwhile, some homeowners in need of gas remain frustrated.
"The gas is the last thing we're needing, and it's holding us up here," said Holeman. "I hate living in two different places right now, just trying to move stuff back and forth because I can't get settled in one place."
The Holeman's say they're already paying both electric and water for their rebuilt home, and their rent home. They were hoping to spend the holidays in their new home.
ONG says crews worked to turn gas on in Steven Housley's home Monday, and they will work on the Holeman's gas line too.