In an odd bit of juxtaposition, the major water loss which struck Decatur on Tuesday came at the same time as some of the coldest weather city residents have ever seen. Ever.
So many people, upon arising that morning and finding no water coming from their taps, thought their water pipes had frozen — as they had been warned often could happen in the days leading up to 36 or so consecutive hours of below-zero temperatures plus wind-chill readings of 40 or so below.
City Hall — and, no doubt, other local agencies — was flooded with phone calls, mostly from people wanting to report their pipes apparently had frozen. The word spread quickly, though, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, etc., that the city had had a major water loss and its three water towers were drained.
And that created a run on bottled water. By 10 a.m. or so, there was none to be purchased here.
And once the leak was confirmed and an advisory to boil water was issued, most city restaurants closed. As did some businesses. Of course, some of the businesses and industrial plants were already closed due to the extreme cold.
Mayor John Schultz said at Tuesday night’s city council meeting it was fortunate it had been decided Monday to open City Hall on Tuesday “as we must have gotten several hundred calls.”
Nearly all city officials at the meeting noted how people were understanding of the situation plus the cooperation seen.
“People were very understanding; they were really good,” Building and Zoning Director Roger Gage said.
For the complete story, see today's print or online editions.