published Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Heat goes out at Bledsoe prison; repairs underway

  • photo
    A corrections guard stands on the yard at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Inmates in one of the buildings at the new Bledsoe County Correctional Complex west of Pikeville, Tenn., had a chilly day as temperatures dipped inside after the heat went out.

Tennessee Department of Correction officials said heating systems at some of the buildings at the prison in Bledsoe County were having “mechanical issues” that crews at the prison could not fix themselves.

Eleanor Fleming, who has a loved one at the prison, said the lack of heat was the cause of "condensation forming, with wet beds and mattresses with water forming on the floor," according to an email she sent to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“Initially, we were unable to make the repairs on site, therefore, we began working with a contractor to complete the necessary repairs and fully restore heat as soon as possible,” an email from TDOC spokeswoman Cindy Dunning said.

“We are anticipating the contractor will be on-site to start the repairs today [Tuesday],” Dunning states.

Warden Eric Qualls “has been communicating with all of the [inmates],” and “(a)lthough the inside temperature is 65 degrees, we have supplied additional blankets to anyone who requests them,” Dunning said.

“I can assure you we are working diligently to make the repairs as quickly as possible and will remain committed to operating a safe prison,” she said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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