BEACH, N.D. - More than 900 households in western North Dakota and eastern Montana were without natural gas heating Tuesday afternoon as temperatures dropped below zero.

Montana-Dakota Utilities experienced a natural gas outage in Golden Valley County in North Dakota and Wibaux County in Montana, according to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

The outage involved the cities of Beach, Golva, Sentinel Butte and Wibaux, Mont.

Emergency locations have been set up in each city where customers affected by the outage can go to stay warm. They include fire hall meeting rooms in Beach, Golva and Sentinel Butte and the Wibaux Fairgrounds.

Mark Hanson, MDU’s public relations director, said the shutdown was due to a frozen valve and the problem required the company to shut off the natural gas at every home in the affected communities until the company can regain adequate gas pressure in the lines.

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Hanson said MDU had an estimated 70 employees working to correct the problem and restore heat to people’s homes.

“We brought in a lot of techs from surrounding communities,” Hanson said.

The temperature in the two counties remained at about zero Tuesday afternoon with wind chills as low as 20-below zero and prompted a wind chill advisory, according to the National Weather Service.

Hanson said he didn’t have a time estimate for when heat would be restored. He said the gas meters in the four communities had been shut off early Tuesday afternoon and MDU’s staff would be turning back on the natural gas lines as soon as possible.