Two rural fire departments provided the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center and Labette Health with needed water so boiler systems can heat facilities. Water pressure fell in Parsons after a leak at the old water treatment plant.

Brian Williams, hospital CEO, said the hospital lost water pressure Sunday night and lost one of its two temporary boilers. The operating boiler was running at 70% power.

“The most important covenant that we have with our communities and our patients is patient safety,” Williams said in an email correspondence to hospital staff. 

The temperature and humidity in operating rooms and sterilization of surgical instruments rely on water and boiler pressure. At 1 p.m. Monday, the hospital decided to postpone surgeries Monday and Tuesday in the interest of patient safety. The emergency room also is on diversion for trauma and surgical patients, Williams said in the correspondence. Diversion alerts ambulances and other hospitals that Labette Health does not have the capacity or capability to perform certain services to the standard of care, he said.

Williams said Labette Health does have emergency water on hand and the hospital is conserving it. The hospital is also monitoring the city’s water system repairs and will adjust operations as needed.

Parsons Fire Chief Kenny Ward said Parsons firefighters also had to make adjustments in case of fire because of the low water pressure on city lines and at city hydrants. Ward said the department notified Altamont, which responds to fires in Parsons on a mutual aid agreement, that the department would need its tanker that holds 5,000 gallons of water to respond to a fire instead of an engine.

He said he also notified the county’s 911 dispatchers about the situation and requested Labette No. 9 Fire District and Osage Township Fire Department for help in the event of a large structure fire in Parsons.

Rural fire departments also helped fill boilers at the hospital and the state hospital. Ward said Labette No. 9 and Osage are providing water to these entities. Ward said the fire departments were filling tankers for this at Great Plains Industrial Park.

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