Natural Gas Hero: Matt Critchley

Matt Critchley was knocking on doors to let residents know that their gas would be shut off for a few hours the following day. When one of the residents did not answer, he left a tag on the door.

Critchley, a town plant representative for Hope Gas, returned the next day to inform them that the outage was the result of a new pipeline coming online.

Again, no one answered the door at this particular residence. Contractors also stopped by the house during the pipeline hookup – but still, there was no answer.

Critchley went by the home one more time. He became concerned, as temperatures were predicted to fall into the 30s that night, and he did not want to leave a homeowner without access to their gas appliances. Critchley knew well how much homeowners depend on natural gas for reliable heat and energy during cold temperatures.

Suddenly, Critchley heard a noise. “It sounded like something was pecking on the window,” he said. It turned out to be coming from a broom handle, repeatedly hitting the windowpane.

Critchley crouched down, put his ear to the door, and made out the muffled sound of someone inside. “I could hear her saying she couldn’t get up to the door,” he said. “Then I heard her say something about how her leg was broken.”

Critchley learned that she had fallen in her kitchen and had been lying on the floor, helpless, for over 24 hours. He asked the woman if there was any way she could unlock the door.

“Just break the door down,” she told him.

At that time, Josh Stull, a contractor from Little Mountain Pipeline, had just arrived at the house. Stull brought a screwdriver that he and Critchley used to get the door open. Meanwhile, Justin Stiles, an inspector for BJI Inspections who was also on the job, dialed 911 while Critchley worked to turn on the woman’s appliances and contacted her sister.

Critchley couldn’t help but wonder what might have happened if he hadn’t heard that tapping on the window. He admitted, “Honestly, unless her sister happened to come by, I don’t know when somebody would have found her.”

Hope Gas, formerly Dominion Energy West Virginia, delivers a natural, reliable supply of energy for heating and cooking to 1.2 million customers. Hope Gas is committed to safety in all they do to benefit their customers and communities, and this is evident when seeing natural gas heroes, such as Matt Critchley, and their commitment to protecting their communities.

Thankfully, the woman only had a bad sprain and was able to receive treatment because of Critchley’s help. He had the chance to see her and her sister again weeks later, and they were both so grateful. “You do feel good when you’re able to help somebody,” Critchley said. “Now I feel like I might pay attention even more in case somebody might have a problem, and if there’s a way I could help them out.”