Cold temperatures led to a big mess Monday morning at the Oklahoma County Jail in the form of thousands of gallons of water flooding a large area on the south side of the facility, even knocking out security cameras. It could take weeks to clean.
It is a good looking building from the outside, but county officials said it was all just a facade, hiding what was going on inside the facility. They said since the day it opened, the county jail has had problem after problem.
“There were people able to knock out cinder blocks and tie blankets to the inside of their cells and escape from inside of their cells,” Mark Myers of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said. “That was the first week that this jail opened, and it's just been downhill ever since.”
The latest happened Monday morning.
“This morning we had about 2,100 gallons of water just cascading down from the second floor down to the first floor,” Myers said.
It destroyed computers and surveillance cameras. It even disrupted jail operations.
“It's a security issue,” Myers said. “We had to temporarily shut down booking and receiving where inmates come in, because there was so much water everywhere.”
They took care of one problem and then thousands of gallons of water came rushing in on the heels of another. For the past several months there has been a makeshift kitchen inside the area where they load and unload inmates. Monday, repairs to the actual kitchen were complete, and as equipment was moved out, water was rushing into the area.
“This is just another Monday for us,” Myers said.
The water came from one inch copper line.
“We're built on a chiller and boiler system that funnels water and for some reason the pneumatic damper did not close,” Myers said. “So the damper did not close and the cold air from the outside rushed in and surrounded the one inch copper pipe, and it burst.”
The jail is located near Robert S. Kerr and Shartel, but that is not where the water used to heat and cool the building is located. It travels from several blocks away, near EK Gaylord and Sheridan where the water is heated and cooled and then piped down to the jail.
“It's just a money pit is basically what it comes down to,” Myers said.
So far this year there have been more than $1.5 million in repairs made the jail.