Originally Posted By BlammO:
I know little about gas water heaters, but had this exact experience when I moved into this house a year ago. I dicked around with it for weeks, thinking there was just air in the gas line from it having been shut off. Then I called the landlord who called the mfr (GE in this case) and found out that there's a glass "fuse" in there. If the gas is turned off, the fuse will often break. The first time it happens (as it did for the previous tenant), the mfr will send a free replacement fuse assembly. The second time, they replace the entire water heater. I now have a new water heater.
There should be an 800 number on the unit somewhere. Find it and call that number. Anything else is just wasting time.
State water heaters don't have that.