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Police, Aided by Locksmiths, Entering Unoccupied Homes to Turn Off Gas in R.I.

Police officers have been entering unoccupied homes to shut off gas meters in an effort to restore service in Rhode Island. (Image source: WPRI-TV)

Police officers, accompanied by locksmiths, have been entering unoccupied homes in Rhode Island to shut off gas valves while crews work to fix a natural gas outage that's left more than 1,600 customers without service.

Local gas company National Grid said it expects service in all affected homes to be restored by Saturday, the Westerly Sun reported. Officials said customers lost service Wednesday when a contractor let air into the natural gas lines.

As a result, crews went door to door Thursday night and into Friday to turn off gas meters in homes and businesses while roads were dug up and gas pipes purged.

According to WPRI-TV, if no one was home when crews arrived, police officers with locksmiths entered the homes to shut the valves off.

The company will re-pressurize the system once all the valves have been secured and all repairs have been made. Crews will then return to relight pilot lights, likely on Friday and Saturday.

National Grid has brought in additional workers from the surrounding Rhode Island area and Massachusetts to help with the repairs. It has guaranteed all customers will have gas restored by Christmas Day at the latest.

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