COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Thomkins confirms all power and air conditioning are back up and running at the jail after it went out Monday evening.
The root of the problem the past day lies in the three-phase power system in the jail. One phase burned out, leaving the jail with limited power.
Crews worked all day Monday using a backup generator to get the jail back up in working order.
The sheriff said they were monitoring the temperature inside the jail hourly to ensure it stayed at safe temperatures for the inmates. They did have an emergency contingency plan if it had gotten too hot.
“The highest it got was 85,” Tomkins said. “We checked it every hour, every dorm, and the highest it got was 85, which is not pleasant, but certainly not dangerous either.”
Tomkins said they were working to check the elevators, lights, and electric key system to ensure everything is back up and running properly.
There was additional staffing at the jail Tuesday.
Pat Biegler, the Muscogee County Public Works Director, said a lot of the problems with the jail involve two things.
“It boils down to funding and the aging facilities,” Biegler said. “It’s an older building. It’s got older plumbing, older electric, older roofing, older air conditioning units. We can monitor to a certain degree, and we certainly do all the routine maintenance that’s required, but it’s like an old car."
Biegler said they are going to council for funding for four of the large air conditioning units in the jail. She said as funds become available, they’re going to continue to tackle the issues at the jail.
The sheriff said there will naturally be problems with a building that’s as old as this jail and believes there needs to be a discussion about building a new section.
According to Tompkins, they hope to replace the problematic equipment in November when it is a bit cooler because they will have to cut the power completely for several hours.