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Dominion restores service to all but 200 homes

All but about 200 Dominion Peoples customers, mostly in the Saxonburg area, had their gas service restored by Friday night. Those without service were not home and could not be reached by the company. The company does not restore service without the homeowner present.

"We're asking anyone without service to call 1-800-764-0111," company spokesman Elmore Lockely said. "We have crews working day and night. It doesn't matter when someone calls."

By Friday afternoon, crews had restored service to 2,000 customers in the Valley. Crews worked a harried schedule, and thankful people clicked on their furnaces for the first time Friday - a full day after service was cut to at least 2,800 households in the Harrison and Saxonburg areas.

A mix of chemicals and dirt froze inside a transmission line in Arnold, causing Thursday┬╣s blockage, Lockley said Friday. He called it an unusual problem, one that had not been encountered previously in the Valley. After injecting chemicals to "de-ice" the blockage, Dominion crews went about the time-consuming task of visiting every house to restore gas service. Most of the remaining outages were in the rural parts outside Saxonburg, Lockley said.

Scores of white Dominion trucks and vans filled the parking lot of Saxonburg Memorial United Presbyterian Church, and almost 150 extra workers fanned out to restore service, house by house. Extra workers drove in from sister companies in West Virginia and Ohio to help.

Nine people stayed overnight at an emergency Red Cross shelter at the Saxonburg Primary Center, a school in the South Butler County School District. Others left for friends or family. All the residents staying in Red Cross shelters had left by noon on Friday, according to a statement from the organization.

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