Ottawa County inmates without hot water for three weeks

Ottawa County inmates without hot water for three weeks

The sheriff of Ottawa County, Oklahoma says he’s doing all he can to bring back hot water for his inmates. Inmates have been without hot water for three weeks now. But there’s also the question of if hot water is a necessity for inmates, much less anyone else.

No hot water at the Ottawa County jail is still causing a hot mess.

Ottawa County Sheriff Terry Durborow says, “Anybody thinks I’m dragging my feet to be a jerk, that’s silly!”

Durborow says keep in mind, this isn’t an ordinary boiler system.

“This has two 250 gallon holding tanks on it. It has a 1.5 million btu water heater system. You can’t have just anybody come in here and say, OK,” says Durborow.

Durborow says there’s problems all around. First, there was a leak in the mechanical room. Special materials from Springfield, Missouri took two days to arrive. Then, workers discovered a valve rusted shut, and it took two more days for that new part to arrive. Now, the boiler itself is out of commission, and a company out of town will hopefully fix the system by the end of the week. Factor in wait times for workers to return phone calls, then to come out and look at the boiler system, and that brings us to today.

“Every time I turn around, it seems like something else has blown up,” says Durborow. “Plus, we’ve spent thousands of tax payer dollars on trying to get this thing fixed. I’d venture to say we’ve probably spent between four to ten thousand dollars trying to get things running again.”

Inmates are property of the county. So at issue, does taking good care of property involve providing hot water?

“They need hot water, and I’m not going to argue that point. I think everybody would expect to have hot water. But there’s times things happen, that there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Durborow.

There’s no time frame of when the hot water system will be fixed. So in the meantime, prisoners will continue taking cold showers, and boiling water for cleaning dishes.

Sheriff Durborow would like to fully tell you how this whole situation has gotten on his nerves, but…

“I’d say something, but I won’t say it. Once the camera goes off, then I’ll say it,” says Durborow.

The sheriff used a different word for being upset.

Workers in the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office have also been without hot water for the past three weeks.