UPDATE: (Monday, March 20)
Friday night dinner plans had to change for many hoping to get their fill at Port Aransas restaurants. Customers and business owners didn't expect trouble to be on the menu.
"Around 7 p.m. Friday night our restaurants started experiencing some equipment issues," said Chris Collins. "At first we started noticing fryer temperatures just dropping and of course during a Friday night rush, we're like what's happening? Then it was eventually like everything gas powered was going out."
Collins is the director of operations for My Fun Port A. He oversees the restaurants affiliated with the organization which include, Fins Grill & Icehouse, Tortuga's Saltwater Grill, Mac Daddy's Family Kitchen, and Jackfish Brick Oven Pizza. Collins said a majority of restaurants need gas to cook, so many closed throughout the weekend due to the city's natural gas outage. He said they attempted to appease Friday evening guests who were already seated in the dining room by serving items that didn't need to be cooked. However, hungry tourists had to fill their foodie cravings outside of Port A.
"Friday night, Saturday, Sunday of Spring break, those would've been three of our, you know, some of our largest sales days of the year. This spring break we were doing great numbers. But after this we lost a huge chunk of sales volume." said Collins.
Some businesses, including some of the ones Collins oversees, were able to reopen Monday morning as the city worked to restore gas services. Despite all the trouble happening on of the island's busiest time of the year, Collins said he still has a positive outlook for businesses in the area.
"This island has done a great job in keeping up with development and just being that go-to spot for people from Texas and out of Texas, to come and enjoy the beach." he added.
Monday morning, Port Aransas provided an update, saying city crews are working with the help of Corpus Christi crews to go to each meter to restore gas services. The city explained that someone must be present in order for the service to be reconnected (whether pilot lights exist or not). There are 1,900 services in the town and if no one is present, that meter cannot be turned on.
To schedule a crewmember to do the job after-hours you can call 361-749-4111.
Port Aransas City Manager David Parsons said crew purged the gas lines around 6 p.m. Sunday night and started turning the gas and meters on.
He said they started with the schools, hotels and restaurants that remained open.
Parsons said the City of Corpus Christi will send 6 crews Monday morning to help and at least one person should be present for crews to turn on service.
Many restaurants and businesses in Port Aransas shut down early over the weekend after a disruption in the city’s gas lines caused the city to run out of natural gas.
According to a release on the city’s website, Port Aransas City Manager David Parsons said outages began on Friday and impacted a "large portion of the area."
In an update on Sunday, Parsons said crews completely shutdown all 1,900 meters throughout the city and they began to put pressure into the system to flush out the air at 1 p.m.
As of Sunday at about 4 p.m., Parsons said city crews are still in the purging stages of removing air from the system.
Parsons added the city will be able to start opening gas meters and providing gas, but it may be later Sunday night.
"Unfortunately, this stage won’t begin until after dinner begins and city staff doesn’t want businesses staff and customers sitting around with no gas service," Parsons said.
KRSI 6 News did reach out to parsons and the city of Port Aransas but have not heard back.
TIMELINE OF GAS RUNNING OUT
According to a text Parson's sent to city councilmen this weekend, the city’s off shore gas supply wells went down because of a mechanical issue and the repair vessel failed to get crews out due to high seas.
"The supplier calculated that there was enough pressure in the supply lines that we’d stay in supply until (Saturday). They did not notify staff of this issue,” Parsons said. “And they were incorrect in their assumption. Our supply ran out.”
In the meantime, the city attempted to hire a gas trucking company to deliver trucks early Saturday to recharge the system.
On Saturday, the city worked overnight into the afternoon to restore the gas line, but could not until they had "100 percent certainty in shutting off every meter in the city prior to re-pressuring the system."
Between Sunday morning into the afternoon, the city received confirmation of the shut off, and was able to "bleed the air out of the system."
KRIS 6 News is still awaiting further updates.
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