Frigid cold knocks out water for everyone in Lawson

LAWSON, Mo. — You might be worried about the pipes in your own home, but what happens when a water utility has a freeze?

Well, water for a whole city can go out.

It happened Tuesday morning in Lawson, Missouri where more than 2,500 people live.

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According to an update from the utility American Water, crews traced this issue back to a frozen water pump.

But altogether separate water systems in the area are also facing similar issues because of the extended, brutal cold.

The flames still burned Tuesday afternoon at a house fire near Missouri City off Highway N. It’s a rural area, certainly no hydrants, according to Excelsior Springs Fire Chief Joe Maddick.

After their engine spent it’s water, tanker trucks out of mutual aid from Liberty, Kearney, and the Fishing River Fire Protection District found their valves had frozen during the trip and were unable to supply water.

That meant the house would burn.

Lawson firefighters also gave mutual aid in their situation as their city dealt with issues of their own, with American Water notifying Lawson customers that a frozen pump led to outages in the whole area.

But people in the city did not immediately know that when they woke up.

“Then I went to go down in my basement cause I thought maybe my pipes froze and there was no water coming out at all,” Michael Bagby, who lives in Lawson, said.

“I started to grab some heaters. And then I was like, you know, let me check Facebook because it was everything. It was the whole house,” Shaun Franken, another Lawson resident, said.

“I just looked on the Facebook group for Lawson and then everybody was complaining that the water was out,” Bagby said.

The situation turned the main drag of Lawson into a street of closures. By mid-day the water had been restored, but water and ice are staying on peoples’ minds.

“I think it just is, you know, it is unique, but I think it’s probably because we’re seeing some pretty unique temperatures, even for our area,” Franken said.

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“I have a koi pond on some land and I’ve got to make sure it’s de-thawing like it needs to now,” Franken said.

“The fish survive in a koi pond?” FOX4’s Jacob Kittilstad asked.

“Yeah, they can – as long as the who0le water doesn’t freeze up. As long as they have water underneath and they have a vent for the toxic gases to get out and oxygen to go in. And it’s got moving water. So we’re just trying to keep the whole thing from freezing up,” Franken said.

No injuries were reported at the house fire outside of Missouri City. The homeowner told FOX4 that it may have been started by a space heater. He said his family had lived there for 27 years.

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