Firefighters unable to access some water mains in Sunrise Beach

Sunrise Beach Fire Risk

SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. - It's home to some of the most expensive houses in Mid-Missouri and it may also be home to some of the houses most vulnerable to fires in the region.

Three years ago, ABC 17 News investigated the lack of fire hydrants in Sunrise Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks.

In September, a fire destroyed an apartment complex after firefighters struggled with low water pressure.

Former Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Chief Dennis Reilly told ABC 17 News after the fire that the issue extends beyond the lack of hydrants, but with the water mains in the city.

"There are some water mains we can't put fire hydrants on, because the water mains are too small," Reilly said. 

According to regulations from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, hydrants need to be placed on at least 6-inch mains because of the amount of pressure they require. ABC 17 News discovered many cities and fire districts in the United States require mains even larger than 6 inches.

According to Reilly, some parts of Sunrise Beach only use 4-inch water mains. He said it's an issue dating back to around 2007, when the mains were installed. One of those areas includes the Porto Cima subdivision, which is served by the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District. Reilly said the water mains are only 4 inches there and were never intended to protect homes.

"Those people that live out in those communities actually had to pay an assessment to add the initial fire hydrants, but the system was really designed to provide water to the houses," Reilly said.

ABC 17 News attempted to check Reilly's claim and look into why the mains were allowed to be installed.

The general manager of Public Water Supply District #4, the water company for the area, told ABC 17 News there might be 4-inch mains in spots. The manager declined an on-camera interview. The Department of Natural Resources also declined an interview. When ABC 17 News called the mayor of Sunrise Beach, we were told to contact city office, who then directed us to the county. 

No one ABC 17 News contacted was able to tell us where the 4-inch mains are located in Sunrise Beach or if the homes in Porto Cima and the rest of the city are safe.

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