Thousands of residents in Aspen, Colorado were left without heat during near-zero degree weather after vandals — possibly green activists from an environmental group — attacked the city’s gas system, authorities said Monday.
The vandals apparently attacked three separate Black Hills Energy gas lines, one in Aspen and two in Pitkin County, leaving around 3,500 residents shivering in their homes Saturday night, The Aspen Times reported.
The Aspen Police Department said the words “Earth first!” were written on one pipe near Aspen. It’s unclear if the environmental group “Earth First!” was behind the vandalism.
Aspen assistant police chief Bill Linn believes the vandals would have to be familiar with the gas system to pull off the scheme.
“They tampered with flow lines,” Linn said. “They turned off gas lines.”
Police scrambled to distribute thousands of space heaters to residents while Black Hill Energy continued working Tuesday to restore the gas.
Aspen is expected to reach a low of negative four degrees Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
The FBI has stepped in to help investigate the matter.