COLUMBIA, S.C. — The gas remains turned off at a Columbia public housing apartment complex after residents were given the option to evacuate on Friday and a gas leak was confirmed on Saturday.
The Columbia Housing Authority (CHA) on Friday said it was voluntarily relocating up to 24 families from St. Andrews Terrace after a gas leak was detected on the property.
In an update Saturday, Dominion Energy confirmed they located the underground leak on Saturday.
Officials say the gas leak was found at the front of St. Andrews Terrace and they are not sure when the gas will be turned back on.
Mathews says, "It didn't present any immediate threat to any of the residents, living there. But certainly you don't want anyone to be smelling any gas."
"They [Dominion Energy] have gone in and made those repairs and have done some additional testing and have found there are no other leaks underneath the property," said Ivory Mathews, CEO of Columbia Housing, which owns the apartments.
In a statement, Dominion Energy said, "Our crews detected an unrelated leak on our underground gas line upstream of the St. Andrews Terrace units. We confirmed that the detected leak had been contained within the immediate vicinity of our underground gas line and is unrelated to this incident. All Dominion Energy repairs have been made"
Residents had the option to stay in a hotel for five days or until the problem is solved or stay at the apartments and get $500 for food, since their gas stoves won't work.
"They can certainly return home if they want to, but we will continue to provide hotel assistance to those families at the hotel as we have not switched on the gas at the property," Mathews said.
Residents need gas for hot water and to be able to cook on their stoves.
Columbia housing says 17 families are staying in the apartments while seven families are staying in hotels.
Columbia Housing is working with Dominion Energy, a private contractor and the fire department, as the agencies continue to inspect the property.
Residents can return home, Columbia Housing says, but there will be no gas.