Sheridan customers face water restrictions |

Sheridan customers face water restrictions

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Water use restrictions will probably remain in place through the end of the week for Sheridan Acres water customers.

Douglas County communications director Dick Mirgon said Tuesday a replacement for a pump destroyed in an electrical fire Monday could be operating today.

Once the pump is operating, Sheridan system users will have to boil their water until the system is tested and confirmed clean on two consecutive days.

High winds caused an electrical surge that ignited the fire, destroying the pump house and leaving 94 homes without water.

The Sheridan Acres system is privately owned, but has been in court-appointed receivership since 1997.

“That’s not stopping us from doing what’s right to get water to the people on the system,” said Mirgon.

He and other county workers spent Monday evening notifying the residents of the fire and asking them to conserve water until repairs are made. He didn’t have a cost estimate, but said the bills will be submitted to the system’s court-appointed overseer.

Mirgon said the tank was full when the fire started. The tank holds 30,000 gallons, enough to meet the homes’ demand for 12 to 14 hours.

Douglas County provided a water truck to fill the tank Tuesday. Mirgon predicted water use restrictions will stay in place a few more days so workers can make sure the new pump is running properly.

The pump house fire was reported just before 5 p.m. Monday. Crews controlled the fire within 15 minutes, then spent the next hour cutting the 10-by-10 foot structure apart and knocking out spot fires within the smoking rubble.

East Fork Fire Inspector Terry Taylor said the winds caused several electrical surges. He said the pump house was vulnerable because it contained equipment that draws more electrical current than a house would.

“The wind was ripping pretty good,” he said. “It caused some voltage surges and basically fried the wiring.”

The situation could have turned far worse had the wind been blowing any harder. As firefighters hacked at the smoldering pump house, fierce gusts tore branches from trees and pelted the area with sand and dust. East Fork Training Capt. Bobby Wartgow said the crews were “very aggressive” based on concerns the wind would spread the fire to the sage-covered hills adjacent to Foothill Road.