POTOSI, Mo. — Nearly a thousand Potosi businesses and homes are without heat Tuesday night after a gas line broke this morning. Now, the community is scrambling to find warmth, as temperatures get below freezing. 

“It’s been a crazy day it’s been a really crazy day,” said Potosi resident Rhonda Woods.

Woods is one of the lucky ones who had city crews stop by her house before dark and turn her gas back on. This comes after a gas line ruptured just down the street from her.  

“I’m tickled to death. It’s going to be a cold night, and otherwise, that’s what I heat with,” Woods said.

The gas line broke around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday after crews were working to replace the line. The break ended up cutting off the gas for about a thousand buildings and impacting about 2,700 people across Potosi.  

Mayor Joseph Blount said with winter weather on the way, the pressure is on to get the heat back on. He said crews have already repaired the gas line but turning the gas back on is an extensive process and could take up to three days.  

“We have to go to each individual house.  We have to shut off their meters.  We have to go back and turn them on.  Then, we have to go and re-light them, and then we have to check for gas leaks before everything is completely done,” said Blount.     

Officials with Washington County Emergency Management have been helping the city with staff and supplies. They said priority buildings like hospitals and jails got heat first. For folks still waiting, the St. Louis Chapter of the Red Cross has set up a shelter here at Potosi Southern Baptist Church, equipped with heat, hundreds of available beds, and plenty of food and snacks.  

“We contacted someone to see if they know anywhere we could go, and they said, ‘Yeah, the Red Crosses at the church just go there, and you’ll be safe for the night. I am just so happy we have a warm place to stay, ” said resident CJ Russell.

Woods said many of her friends and family won’t need to use the shelter because they have other ways to heat their homes. She hopes everyone stays safe these next few days. 

“Just go with the flow. That’s all you can do,” Woods said.

The address for Southern Baptist Church is 10165 West State Highway 8. The Red Cross asks if you utilize the shelter, to bring your own clothes, medication, and hygiene items.