VALPARAISO | Lightning from a storm front that blew through the Valparaiso area about 7 p.m. Friday apparently struck a power line that disrupted electric service and brought reports from residents who smelled natural gas.
NIPSCO spokesman Tom Stevens said lightning struck power lines in the area of Ind. 49 and Vale Park Road. That electric line fell to the ground and struck a gas regulator in the area.
Stevens said about 1,500 customers initially were without power. There also was a strong odor of natural gas in the area.
Stevens said crews on the scene believe some natural gas may have escaped the regulator through safety valves when it was hit by the charged power line, but as of 10 p.m. there were no reports of customers without gas service.
Crews were able to restore electric power to all but about 100 customers as of 10 p.m.
Emergency crews blocked off streets in the area while NIPSCO workers repaired equipment and restored power.