The heating problem started in Units A and B. It recently was discovered in Unit C. Administrators believe they've contained the problem to those sections of the prison and are working to resolve the problem.
“The C Unit challenges just started a few weeks ago,” Superintendent Jeff Morin said Friday. “Those heaters started to, heating coils started to explode, or pop is what they do and leak glycol all over the place."
“We're feeling it throughout the building,” he added later. “The building has about 130 of these heating coils and roughly half of them are having problems so we just shut them off in some places to avoid having them pop and cause more damage.”
Three of 10 housing units -- home to around 100 inmates -- are impacted by the heat loss.
“I was told the chemicals were not right and it eventually eroded the pipes and the joints in some of these heating coils,” Morin said. “The contractor has emptied the old chemical. We've put in a flushing agent. Right now, we're flushing water through the system. That will go on for two weeks.”
“Once the new chemical in, we can start replacing the damaged coils,” he added later.
Extra linen, blankets and clothing have been distributed and 25 rented portable heaters are being used to heat the prison. During a Friday tour of the facility, a couple inmates mentioned the heat.
“When are you going to fix our heat?,” one inmate in Unit A asked Morin.
“We're in the process,” the superintendent responded.
“My room's freezing every night,” the inmate said. “No joke.”
The portable heaters are positioned in the common areas, and Morin says inmates can leave their cell doors open to let in heat or move their bedding into the common area to be closer to the heaters at night. Usually, each cell is locked during the evenings.
“Most of the areas are staying between 60 and 70 [degrees] a majority of the time,” Morin said.
“It's not ideal, but I don't think it's uncomfortable,” he added later.
They're waiting for supplies for the repairs to arrive and expect to have the problem fixed by the end of February.