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No help on a holiday? Lakeland man says he couldn’t reach MLGW’s emergency line

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Rich Justin says he woke up to cold water this 4th of July.

That's a bit of a hassle on any day, but especially a holiday.

"I went upstairs to check my two, water heaters and there was no noise, so normally you can hear the gas going so there was no fire going," explained Justin.

So, Justin said that's when he went outside to find a newly installed gas meter.

Tags on his door showed MLGW and contractors were at his home Monday.

"When they do that, they had to turn off the gas and since nobody was in my house to let them in, they locked the gas."

Justin said the same happened to a few of his neighbors.

He called the number on the tag and didn't get an answer, because Tuesday was a holiday.

So, he tried another number, hoping to get some help.

"So I called the outage line that you call for like power or anything else and I hit the emergency line, I hit the emergency line just because nobody was answering the other ones and to my surprise, nobody answered the emergency line either for like 20 minutes!"

Justin tried the number on the tag again, and followed the prompts for the emergency line while WREG was at his house, just to see if it would work.

Once again, it just rang.

Justin said he knows his case is clearly not an emergency, but worries what would happen if it was.

"If there was a leak or a gas smell!"

Despite what happened with Justin, there is some good news.

News Channel 3 tried calling the same number, 901-820-7878 (then followed prompts for an emergency) later this afternoon and someone answered immediately.

The employee who answered the phone said they're a bit short staffed, but said they've been there all day.

MLGW Spokesperson Gale Carson reiterated their emergency lined is manned 24-7, and she also double checked the line this afternoon, and an employee answered.

Carson said she still plans to report the incident to determine what might have happened with Justin's calls.

WREG asked if there had been a phone problem in the past 24 hours and Carson said she would check into that as well.

Early Wednesday morning, we received word that Justin's service had been restored.

He said the extension rang for a minute before someone picked up.

Once he explained the situation, MLGW had someone at his home within 30 minute.

The service man then helped his neighbors as well.

MLGW's actual emergency line is (901) 528-4465, which Carson reiterated is for emergencies only.