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Port Aransas natural gas outage impacts short-term rentals

Kristen Mrdjanov came from Colorado to enjoy our Coastal Bend shores. That vacation took a detour when the gas outage resulted in the her Airbnb's cancellation.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some rental property managers in Port Aransas said that the natural gas outage that started Friday evening has caused some Airbnbs to be canceled.

The City initially posted a note to its website informing residents of the widespread natural gas outage which affected residents and businesses, putting a major strain on Spring Break tourism.

Port Aransas visitor Kristen Mrdjanov came all the way from Colorado to enjoy our Coastal Bend shores. She said that the natural gas outage caused an instant sense of panic for her -- and her family. 

"It was sort of a moment of panic because we're getting up on 7:00 in the evening and we didn't have a place to stay," she said. 

Mrdjanov found out that her Airbnb -- that she booked months in advance had been canceled due to not having natural gas. Mrdjanov turned to Sway, a local vacation rental host company, to find her family a new place to stay.

"Within 15 minutes of contacting them we were in the building and had a place to stay. So, it's, it's been really fun and really nice. We're having a great time," she said.

Mrdjanov said there was barely anyone in town when she and her family got to Port Aransas over the weekend. A local resident explained to them what happened with the gas outage -- causing many tourists to leave.

Sway Co-owner Chuma Jerome said that the last thing she wanted is for tourists to lose out on the Port Aransas experience.

"It's not like they're going to turn around and go back to Colorado and we don't want that to happen, too, you know. Port Aransas is a great island and we want to have everyone come and enjoy their stay," she said.

Sway manages 65 live properties and 11 being prepared to go live in Port Aransas. They are listed on Airbnb, Vrbo and other places online. Jermone said nothing like this gas outage has happened to them in three and half years in business. She said they reached out to the City of Port Aransas for answers -- without much luck.

"We couldn't get the information out so that we knew how to respond to take care of our guests. So, we hired a plumber to come out, the city did tell us that if we had a licensed plumber that they could turn those on for us," she said. 

Chuma said they communicated with guests two-to-three times a day to keep them updated on the situation. At least 28 of their properties were without gas -- and at least 18 were occupied by guests. 

They were given electric skillets to use and some money back for their stay. Those rental properties average $150-700 a night.

"We just put ourselves in that guest's shoes and we ask ourselves what would we want if we were that guest," she said.

3NEWS reached out to the City of Port Aransas and City Manager David Parsons multiple times Wednesday -- and the last few days about the outage. 

Parsons has not accepted a request for an interview.

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