JACKSON, Miss. — Following explosions at two homes in South Jackson, including one that resulted in the tragic death of an 82-year-old woman, officials from Atmos Energy addressed questions from concerned residents. The Jackson Fire Department and the National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the explosions that took place on Shalimar Drive and Bristol Boulevard.
Bobby Morgan, representing Atmos Energy, expressed the company’s cooperation with the ongoing investigation, emphasizing their commitment to understanding the events that transpired. In response to the incidents, Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes convened a meeting with residents and Atmos officials to discuss the work being carried out in the neighborhood and to respond to inquiries regarding the explosions.
Speaking about the company’s immediate response to the incidents on Bristol and Shalimar, Morgan outlined the mobilization of resources in the wake of the explosions, as well as the accelerated infrastructure replacement program that had been previously planned. He assured the community of their proactive approach to ensuring the safety of their customers and the city at large, evidenced by the significant presence of Atmos vehicles and crews in the area.
In the aftermath of the explosions, approximately 100 residents in the vicinity were temporarily without gas service, and they were given the option to evacuate and stay in a hotel while work was being conducted. As a result, about 60 residents chose to depart from their homes and stay in a hotel, although the number of customers in hotels has since dwindled to only four individuals.
Darlene Lomax, a resident of Jackson, raised concerns about previous calls made to Atmos regarding the smell of gas on Bristol Boulevard before the explosion occurred. While Morgan refrained from commenting due to the ongoing NTSB investigation, Roy Moss, vice president of operations for Atmos, explained the routine nighttime surveying carried out by the company to detect natural gas leaks.
Morgan went on to emphasize Atmos’ substantial financial investment of over $400 million in the past five years to improve the system throughout Mississippi, with a significant portion of that allocation dedicated to the city of Jackson. This commitment underscores their dedication to enhancing the safety and well-being of the local community.