Morehead Park heat

Melissa Neal’s son Heath stays warm next to a pair of space heaters Monday morning at his great-grandmother Christina Rojo’s trailer at Morehead Park. The trailer park has been without natural gas since Sunday, when a falling tree broke a gas line.

Melissa Neal and her grandmother Christine Rojo were huddled in front of two electric space heaters, along with Neal’s two young sons, on Monday morning, because the gas service that powered the heat in their mobile homes had been out for hours.

The women live at Morehead Park mobile home community, 24221 S. Chrisman Road. The storm that passed through Tracy overnight Sunday blew down a 60-foot-high tree, dragging a gas main line out of the ground with the roots.

“There was a gas leak, so (Pacific Gas and Electric Co.) just turned off all the gas,” Neal said.

Neal and her husband and two children have lived at Morehead Park for three years, and she said life was “pretty good” — until the temperature in their mobile home dropped to 43 degrees overnight.

Just down the block, Morehead Park owner James Abbey stood with contractors and an inspector from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, which regulates the community — examining the damage and options to restore heat to more than 100 homes.

“What we’re trying to do is reroute the gas, above ground,” Abbey said, standing next to the felled tree in pouring rain.

The housing department dispatched an inspector from Sacramento on Monday morning, after a night of almost freezing temperatures, and within six hours issued a permit for the fix.

Evan Gerberding, deputy director of communications with the Department of Housing and Community Development, said the inspector acted as quickly as possible because people were without heat.

“It’s pretty typical when it’s something like this, when it could be a danger to the residents,” she said.

Abbey thought the contractor might be able to finish the rerouted line Tuesday or Wednesday.

“Then the system has to be pressure-tested,” he said “We have to check all the gas meters. Cap everything.”

PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Ehlers said that once the work is done, a utility worker will be able to restore gas very quickly.

Not as quickly as Neal might like.

“My little 4-year-old is getting sick. I’d like to get a hotel room, but —” Neal said Monday evening, trailing off without giving voice to her worry as she and her family prepared for another cold night.

Gerberding said that residents of mobile home parks administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development can call 800-952-5275 or email mhassistance@hcd.ca.gov at any time to report issues in their communities.

Contact Michael Ellis Langley at mlangley@tracypress.com or 830-4231.

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