July Fire Illuminates Central Illinois Village’s Water Crisis

Residents gathered around Strasburg welcome sign.

Residents of Strasburg gather around a welcome sign that greets motorists entering the Sheby County town on Illinois Route 32. The photo is posted on the village's website.

Village of Strasburg

A fire in the Shelby County village of Strasburg this month sheds light on a long-standing disagreement among leaders in the area on how to handle its water pressure issues.

During the July 13 fire at the Strasburg Elementary School building, all Strasburg firefighters could do was ensure the fire was contained, according to the Journal-Gazette & Times-Courier.

Strasburg has been without an online water tower for a few years. Five years ago the village entered a water crisis. Its old well system became insufficient.

Former Mayor Mike Antonacci said the system they had used was in desperate need of replacement with constant water leaks, almost one every week.

Fire Chief Troy Agney said he had urged leaders to keep the tower in service. The tower serves as a reserve for the fire department's trucks.

Water concerns were addressed, but when cutting service from the water tower was considered, little support from the Strasburg Village Board was given at the time.

It would cost several thousand dollars to turn the tower back on, but less than the original estimate on the repairs, officials said. Strasburg Mayor Ron Thomas said the tower was recently inspected and deemed "structurally sound and still usable."

However, the village board has tabled the discussion on the water tower for its past two meetings.

Story source: AP