The now weeklong blast of arctic air has triggered some school closures, snarled traffic and brought the temperature down considerably at the Washington County Jail.
was alerted to the problem by a family member of an inmate who said that the heat had been off "for more than a week," but Washington Coounty Sheriff Matt Thomas says "that's not exactly true."
"Yes, we had a heater go out Tuesday (Nov. 18) in one of our pods," said Thomas, referring to a cell area that houses up to six inmates. "But I can tell you that the temperature has never gone below 68 degrees there. We have a thermostat there that we're checking regularly."
But getting a necessary part for the broken heater has been another problem.
"We were hoping to get that part today," Thomas told BW
late Thursday. "But as soon as we get it, we'll get that heater going again."
Thomas said at no time were inmates needed to be moved due to cold.
Thomas told BW
that currently, his county jail in Weiser was housing more than 40 inmates, including prisoners from other counties, and state and federal inmates.