Henryville fire suspected cause of multiple water main breaks; s - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Henryville fire suspected cause of multiple water main breaks; school deals with no water

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A lack of running water paralyzed much of Henryville on Friday. 

As staff members rushed clean water into the Henryville school campus Friday morning, kids like 15-year-old Oakley Pyke and many others in the 1,200 member student body rushed out.  Pyke said "Everybody is freaking out they said it's up to your parents if you want to go home." 

Four water main breaks off of Hwy. 31 left the school and 200 other customers with no running water. Staff at the school tried to press on with the day, putting people on constant fire patrol and bagging off water fountains in exchange for bottled water. 

There was limited bathrooms and custodial crews used buckets of water to force flush the toilets. 

West Clark Schools Asst. Superintendent Dr. John Reed says the lack of running water was a major inconvenience, but they kept everything under control. 

"It puts a lot of stress on, but again I would say to the parents and those that have been around for awhile know this is a faculty that has been through a lot," Reed said. "Their kids are well taken care of, and right now we've got teaching going on in the classroom."

Parents we spoke with weren't worried. 

"I feel pretty safe that everything will be OK, so I don't have any immediate concern," said Dana Smallwood, the mother of a kindergarten student. 

Reed reminds the community saw a tornado rip apart the building in 2012 and teachers hunkered down to protect the kids. . 

"If I had to deal with the kind of problems we're dealing with today, this is where I'd want to be," Reed said. "The people here know how to take care of the kids in all kinds of challenges."

A representative from Rural Membership Water Company said crews hope to have service restored by the end of Friday.

But for one family, the troubles are far from finished. 

The water company says the problem may have started at Terry and Dawn Guernsey's home on Zollman Road about four miles from the school. Firefighters were trying to save the home around 2 a.m. They think the problem is what's called a "water hammer" -- a surge or sudden rush in the water line which can cause breaks. That caused major problems for firefighters. 

"They would get a little bit of water, and would have to wait 30 seconds or so and then get a little bit more," said Dawn Guernsey. "Honestly, I went across the road to the neighbors so I didn't have to watch it burn."

The home was not insured, so a fire donation account has been set up in Terry and Dawn Guernsey's name at the New Washington State Bank. 

Henryville remains under a boil water advisory until further notice. 

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