State of Emergency declared for Kanawha County due to gas outage

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice, on Wednesday, declared a State of Emergency in Kanawha County due to a gas outage on Charleston’s West Side and has activated the West Virginia National Guard to assist with necessary resources.

“In light of the prolonged duration of this major gas outage on Charleston’s West Side, which has left over a thousand families without heat, hot water, or stoves, I am declaring a State of Emergency and activating the resources of the West Virginia National Guard,” Gov. Justice said.

“I have spoken with the Vice President of Mountaineer Gas, and we’re closely following their progress in restoring service to families. From what I understand, it is no easy task, but they expressed they are diligently working to get gas turned back on as fast as possible. I have offered any state resources they may need to assist them. 

“The other big problem is making sure people are fed hot meals, especially through the Thanksgiving holiday next week. We have both Kanawha Valley Senior Center and Lincoln County Senior Center pitching in to provide hundreds of meals. We are also working with West Virginia Health Right and A More Excellent Way Life Center Church on the West Side to take care of families. If this outage continues through Thanksgiving, we will make sure families are fed. 

“We’re also working with Kanawha County Schools to ensure we have a plan to make sure all our kids are fed. More details will be coming about this operation soon. 

“Additionally, I have directed the West Virginia National Guard to be ready to help in any way they can during this time, if necessary.

“I’ve been advised this issue originated from a burst in a water pipe that flooded the gas lines. In response, I’ve directed the Public Service Commission to initiate a full investigation into the cause of this outage and hold the responsible parties accountable. This will not get swept under the rug and disappear without answers.

“To the resilient residents of the West Side: We are here with you during this challenging time. We are pulling the rope together and will get through this together.”

As part of this State of Emergency declaration, the Governor has directed the West Virginia Emergency Management Division to implement the West Virginia Emergency Operations Plan as necessary, mobilize appropriate personnel and resources to respond to the emergency, and facilitate the provision of essential emergency services.

The State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days unless terminated by subsequent Proclamation.

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