Hundreds line up for space-heater distribution in Aspen after day-long gas outage
Energy companies delivering nearly 4,000 heaters as Black Hills Energy works to fix what appears to be a tampering of Aspen’s natural gas supply
The Aspen police and fire departments distributed space heaters Monday evening to individuals who did not have heat in their homes due to a town-wide natural gas outage.
Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said at 5 p.m. Monday that the first shipment of nearly 4,000 space heaters were being delivered from Denver.
At about 6:15 p.m. Linn said at the community meeting that the first 400 heaters had been distributed. A second truck arrived shortly before 7 p.m. and the distribution continued in front of the APD building on Main Street in the westbound lane, and at the Aspen Fire Department on Hopkins Avenue.
Chris Vigil, the semi-truck driver who delivered the 3,600 heaters in the second wave, said he left Denver at 2 p.m.
“It was fine until I got to Glenwood (Canyon),” he said, adding he was delivering on behalf of Henderson and Excel gas companies.
Vigil, along with the help of police and fire officers, unloaded dozens of pallets for about two hours.
“It was sort of last minute,” Vigil said. “I’m happy to help.”
In front of the APD building, people were asked to drive to the pick-up area and wait in line until someone handed them a heater.
“We will do contactless distribution,” officials said in an update Monday night. “If you pull up and open your passenger window, we will drop a heater in.“
At the outset of the distribution, dozens of cars were backed up around Original Curve waiting for the toss from a police officer as the snow fell harder.
The officers simply asked the driver or passenger if they lived in Aspen and were without heat. Some were turned away if they were not a resident of Aspen.
Most people thanked them, and a few tried to get more than one or drove through the line again for a second attempt.
Others walked up to get a heater, like Diana Short, who lives a few block away.
“I’m so appreciative of what the city is doing,” she said, noting that she’ll most likely put the heater in her kid’s room.
The heaters are prioritized for individuals in need, not for businesses, property management companies or hotels.
People are asked to call 970-920-5400 with questions or needs regarding space heaters. For those with special needs or emergency shelter, they can call 970-379-1490. Also, more information can be found on the city’s website at cityofaspen.com.
Downvalley big box stores like Wal-Mart and Lowes reportedly had sold out of space heaters by Monday evening.
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The American Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton, was close to Aspen’s hearts and pocketbooks. Early settlers had experienced it during the Civil War, hence one of Aspen’s early mining claims was named Red Cross.