Salvation Army hit hard by gas leak

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis’ Salvation Army, located at Gidding and Second streets, has been working around major construction due to a gas leak for the past 3 1/2 weeks.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The staff at Clovis’ Salvation Army knew this summer was going to be tough. Goodwill moved in to town and the economy isn’t doing well.

They didn’t know the half of it.

On June 24, the New Mexico Gas Company found a leak in their line in the alley across the street from the non-profit’s building. Corps officer Tammy Ray said the staff was kept out of their building, and without power, for a week.

“We lost freezers full of meat,” she said. “We lost so much.”

The gas company proceeded to dig up Second Street in front of the building, looking for the leak.

“Apparently, it had been leaking for a while and the gas pockets move. They keep digging and digging,” Ray said.

The issue blocked the front door to the Special Services offices and church building.

Monica Hussey, a spokesperson for New Mexico Gas Company, said the location of the leak made for some troubles.

“What made this one difficult is that there was some work that was required under the street,” Hussey said. “It has to do more with access to where the leak is. We were definitely erring on the side of caution and making sure gas hadn’t dissipated to other parts.”

In the interim, the staff uses a back door in the alley and has been trying to get customers to do the same.

“Even with all that yellow caution tape out there, people try to come through it. Either that or they think we’re closed,” Ray said. “Our customers need has not gone away. People are still having a lot of financial crisis this summer.”

Hussey said she couldn’t give a date for when asphalt work would be complete, but work on the gas line should be completed before the week ends.

“We apologize (for the long wait),” Hussey said, “but safety is our No. 1 concern, and we’re addressing all of those issues.”

Ray said the gas company has been friendly and kept them informed on the progress of the repairs, but each estimated finish date has been surpassed.

“Our thrift store is open, but it doesn’t look like it. Sales are terrible. And our thrift store sales keep us moving. There are all kinds of facets of the Salvation Army that are not being able to be done,” Ray said.

Ray said the local office has borrowed from the national office to pay its staff’s salaries.

CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson contributed to this report.