STANLY COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Approximately 3,000 Piedmont Natural Gas customers could go without service through Friday after a natural gas line was damaged this week in Stanly County, authorities said.

Late Wednesday, Stanley County Schools announced they would be closed Thursday.

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According to Piedmont Natural Gas, the incident occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 13, around 5 p.m. along Barbees Grove Road and Hwy 138 in Oakboro.

“Fortunately, we’ve repaired the actual damage to the pipe itself, but it’s not just as simple of turning the pipeline back on and everyone’s natural gas comes on,” said Jason Wheatley with Piedmont Natural Gas.

They said a third-party contractor significantly damaged a six-inch transmission natural gas line.

Multiple crews from around the Carolinas are working to make repairs as quickly, and as safely as possible, Piedmont Natural Gas explained on Wednesday.

“Due to the extent of damage and the complexity of repairs required, impacted customers should prepare to be without gas service through Friday,” the gas company said in a written statement. “Although we anticipate starting to restore service as early as Thu, Dec. 15, some service relights may carry into Fri, Dec. 16.”

As this work progresses, Piedmont Natural gas said it would continue to provide additional updates to impacted customers.

“We are coordinating with local officials and providing updates on the repair and restoration process,” they said. “We appreciate the patience from our customers and communities.”

Nine area schools in Stanly County were closed on Wednesday due to the widespread natural gas outage, according to Stanly County Schools.

District officials said the following schools are closed on Dec. 14 and 15:

  • Albemarle High
  • Albemalre Middle
  • Central
  • East Albemalre
  • Aquadale
  • Norwood
  • South Stanly Middle
  • South Stanly High
  • STEM Early College

“I got a text from Piedmont Natural Gas saying there was an accident and an outage. I didn’t think nothing of it. And then an hour later, it got a little colder and I asked my fiancé to check the thermostat and I was like, ‘oh!’” said resident Donnie Hall.

In addition to being closed to students and staff, officials said all athletic events and other after-school activities were canceled for those schools Wednesday.