Help Comes For Fort Worth Homeowner Who Complained About No Hot Water, But Had Much Bigger Problem – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A complaint about cold showers pointed Fort Worth and Atmos Energy to a complicated problem for a senior resident, which they solved with a simple, no-cost solution.

Norma Thoms now has hot water in her home in the Arlington Heights neighborhood and new, leak-free gas lines.

A Fort Worth plumber completed repairs at no charge on Thursday, July 1, after a deluge of phone calls and emails between the city and the natural gas supplier to track down the problem.

Thoms called city code compliance Wednesday after living without hot water for more than a week. The senior thought it had to do with recent utility work near her home, but didn’t know the details.

Code enforcement reported the issue to risk management, who called Becca Owens, a customer solutions analyst who could find out what projects were in the area.

Owens determined that Thoms’ gas had been cut off since a city contractor damaged a nearby gas line, and during repairs, Atmos discovered a leak in Thoms’ yard and likely her home.

“So they wanted to go in to do some tests, but the resident was unfamiliar with the process, very uncomfortable, so she locked herself in the house and stopped communicating,” Owens said.

Leaks on a homeowner’s property are their responsibility to fix. In this case, however, it was clear to those involved that they might need to step in to help.

Owens said a supervisor for their inspection group named Tommy Davis with Atmos, a 48-year veteran of the company who oversees distribution to customers.

He called Dennis Salas, whose Lone Star Plumbing works with the utility company regularly, and met him at home.

Atmos often connects customers with the energy assistance department and uses donations and partnerships with social services to ease bills.

In this case, when Thoms opened the door for Davis and spoke to him, he told Atmos management that a different kind of help was really needed.

Salas crews went to work on Thursday morning, laying new gas pipes through the house, new pipe to the street, new meter location. It had brought in nearly $3,000 in work, but Salas didn’t ask Thoms a dime.

Sitting in her front living room with plumbers coming in and out on Thursday, Thoms just smiled and said she was grateful and blessed.

“They looked at the person, the circumstances and the situation and made a choice that really benefited her,” Owens said.

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