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Lines linger as gas demand grows

Central Iowa running low on gas

T-R photo by Stephanie Bowers Vehicles were lined up for blocks on North 3rd Avenue Tuesday afternoon when the electronic gas pumps became available.

The fight for fuel raged across Central Iowa on Tuesday as electrical outages left pumps without power.

While some area convenience stores did their best to meet demand, many were expected to run dry by nightfall.

The Casey’s in Grundy Center was low on gas at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, and drivers were waiting in line for 20 to 40 minutes

“We have had lines on Main Street all day,” said manager Robin Van Deest. “We don’t know how much longer the gas will last.”

The Casey’s in State Center ran out of gas on Tuesday, but corporate sent another delivery of fuel for the pumps. Manager Shelli Sofa said deliveries are frequent and they carry diesel.

“We have had a line for 30 hours straight,” she said. “I have never seen anything like this. I am so proud of my team and of the community of State Center. They have directed traffic. It has been crazy, but the people have really been amazing.”

The New Century Farm Service locations in State Center and Melbourne have had trouble keeping up with the demand. Getting gas at those locations is a hit and miss situation, depending on when the last fuel delivery was made.

At the Casey’s in Hubbard, there has not been any lines of drivers for gas, but the station has definitely had far more people seeking fuel than other days.

Lines began to form in Marshalltown as power was restored to Jiffy, on Third Avenue and Linn Street, and the Casey’s on North Third Avenue.

Not only are people getting fuel for their vehicles, but also for portable generators.

Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper said it is difficult to know how many households in town are using generators. He said in his neighborhood alone, he has seen six. Tupper said he has heard getting a generator anywhere in Central Iowa is a challenge.

“I heard Des Moines is out of generators, and I heard one person went to Mankato to pick one up,” he said.

With so many people utilizing generators, there is a concern about carbon monoxide poisoning. The city issued a safety statement, providing tips people should keep in mind.

“We are trying to prevent any problems,” Tupper said. “We want to make sure people use the equipment safely to prevent anyone getting injured or killed. Carbon monoxide sneaks up and you don’t realize it is a problem. We want people to be safe.”

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