Monday, February 7, 2011

Martinez dispatches more guardsmen to assist gas company

Late Monday afternoon, ahead of an approaching storm, and with snow falling in parts of Northern New Mexico, Governor Susana Martinez announced that she is sending additional National Guard troops and police officers to the communities of Taos and Espanola to expedite the process of restoring natural gas and that the crews will work throughout the night in both communities.

She also announced that firefighters from Albuquerque are on stand-by and if necessary will be dispatched tomorrow morning.

These additional personnel will receive training in order to turn gas meters back on, as well as clear debris and other items from around meters and furnaces. They will be paired with a technician or plumber who is licensed to re-light appliances and heaters.

“Gas company officials personally assured me they would complete their work by Sunday night and repeatedly declined our offers to provide additional resources, such as National Guard troops,” Governor Martinez stated. “It is unacceptable that so many are still without power in Taos and Espanola and that’s why we are mobilizing additional personnel to expedite the process and ensure New Mexicans are not going without heat.

Martinez says she and her administration are prepared to "work around the clock until the job is done.”

“I’m very proud of local law enforcement and our National Guard, and I appreciate the willingness of the Albuquerque Police and Fire Departments to step up and assist their fellow New Mexicans,” added Martinez.

Crews will need the public’s cooperation in restraining pets and clearing space around appliances, meters, and furnaces. Residents in Taos and Espanola who have not yet had their natural gas restored are also encouraged to leave their porch light on throughout the night.

The additional National Guard troops, Emergency Response units, and State Police will be meeting throughout the afternoon and early evening at the National Guard Armory in Espanola.

The breakdown of additional personnel ordered to the area by Martinez is as follows:

  • 300 National Guard soldiers and airmen, in addition to the 56 currently deployed
  • 44 Albuquerque Police Department Emergency Response Unit Members
  • 15 State Police officers

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