All gas service to complex where explosion happened shut off

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — All natural gas service has been shut off to an apartment complex where a building exploded and partially collapsed Sunday.

Atlanta Gas Light said inspectors have identified appliance and fuel line issues within the buildings. Officials said they have been directed by the Dunwoody City Code Officer to suspend all natural gas service to the entire complex until all units are inspected by a plumber and deemed safe to operate.

The company was working to shut down service to over 400 units Monday evening.

Atlanta Natural Gas operates and maintains the infrastructure that delivers natural gas to the complex, but does not maintain appliances or fuel lines inside customers’ properties.

Channel 2 Action News has also learned new details about the events leading up to the moment a Dunwoody apartment building exploded.

Four people were taken to the hospital after the explosion at Arrive Perimeter apartments on Asbury Square Sunday afternoon. Two of them had significant injuries, according to fire officials.

Atlanta Gas Light told Channel 2 on Monday that one of its field crews was already heading to the scene when the explosion happened.

“Atlanta Gas Light is committed to delivering safe and reliable natural gas service to our customers. On the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 12, Atlanta Gas Light received a call alerting us that the scent of gas was present at the Arrive Perimeter apartments near the 2000 block of Asbury Square in Dunwoody. Following the call, a field service representative was promptly dispatched and, according to our initial investigation, was en route to the scene when an incident occurred. Upon arrival, we began coordinating with first responders, turning off the natural gas connected to the impacted units and performing safety checks. At this time, we have not identified any other calls to Atlanta Gas Light related to odor of gas complaints at the impacted locations.”

On Monday evening, officials with the City of Dunwoody said that on-site inspections revealed two gas leaks in a building at the complex that weren’t related to the explosion. Gas was shot off to the complex so those repairs could be made and crews could inspect additional buildings.

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Police said they were called to the Arrive Perimeter apartments in DeKalb County around 1:24 p.m., where they encountered heavy gas fumes. Police were able to start evacuating residents. At some point, there was an explosion.

The blast was so powerful that it damaged surrounding buildings. NewsChopper 2 was over the scene, where there was a large crack in the roof and one side of the building with heavy damage.

Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins talked a resident who said the smell of gas has become almost a normal part of living at the complex.

“This has been an ongoing issue,” Erik Wiley said. “A lot of residents have been complaining about smelling gas.”

Wiley said he called SCANA Energy a few months ago about the smell. SCANA confirmed that they dispatched crews from Atlanta Gas Light on March 29 to inspect a possible leak.

“They did detect gas and they were going to notify management,” Wiley said.

According to SCANA, there were no signs of a gas leak. But Atlanta Gas Light said that other than Sunday, they have no confirmed any calls from property management or from SCANA Energy.

“At this time, we have not identified any other calls to Atlanta Gas Light related to odor of gas complaints at the impacted locations,” the company said in a statement.

Resident Sharon Ragsdale said she had been trying to establish a paper trail about the complaints.

“Oh yes, you have to have a paper trail,” Ragsdale said. “They just said they would look into it.”

Channel 2 Action News has reached out to property management officials multiple times about whether they in fact received complaints, but they have not responded.

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