For Release: 03/12/2008

Source of Natural Gas Leak in Rochester Found; Repairs Likely Completed Later This Evening

Thorough testing following repairs needed before people can return to homes.

Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation (MERC) is reporting that the source of the natural gas leak and subsequent fire on 36th Street S.W. early this morning has been located and repairs will begin soon. However, making the repairs and testing them will take several hours. At the earliest, MERC does not expect to allow people to return to homes until after 10:00 PM – if there are no unexpected problems with the repairs or testing.

MERC officials are working with the Red Cross to provide housing to those customers who prefer not to wait. They would return to their homes in the morning.

Electricity to the affected area was cut off early today and MERC is working with Rochester Public Utilities to coordinate a return of service to many of the homes. It is possible that electric service could be returned to homes in the area earlier, before the natural gas is restored.

MERC workers and contractors will be available following the repairs to relight furnaces and appliances for customers.

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