QUESTION: Did inmates in Alamance County’s jail stop up their toilets, causing a torrential overflow that made its way into the administrative offices of the sheriff’s department? Is it true that the inundation got as far as the evidence room in the building’s basement?
ANSWER: It wasn’t an information leak but a plumbing-related one that has literally forced the local sheriff’s office to air out its innermost recesses over the past couple of weeks.
According to Alamance County’s sheriff Terry Johnson, this epic inundation began two weekends ago with an act of sabotage by some of the inmates housed on the upper floor of his agency’s headquarters.
“They stopped up the pipes with a towel and rag, which blocked the commodes,” Johnson recalled in an interview Wednesday. “[The water] flowed all the way down and eventually came through the ceiling in the administrative offices [on the building’s ground floor].”
Johnson added that the deluge had advanced pretty far by the time he had a chance to see the results on the afternoon of Sunday, October 31.
“I came in after church and walked into water,” he recalled.
The inundation, which was perhaps two inches deep at its peak, seeped through the walls of the building’s ground floor offices and ultimately worked its way into the
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basement. The sheriff acknowledged that the seepage got as far as the evidence room, although he stressed that it didn’t spoil any of the items within this secured area.
In either case, the county’s top brass realized that the scale of this plumbing disaster exceeded the capabilities of their own maintenance staff. The county consequently called in the services of Bioclean Restoration to handle the cleanup.
According to Johnson, this Burlington-based firm had to tear out the carpets, strip away wallpaper, and even remove some of the sheetrock in the affected areas. Johnson went on to estimate that the cost of the cleanup may have already crested $90,000, although he conceded that the final bill won’t be nailed down until the work is complete.
The repairs that have taken place in the aftermath of this calamity were still underway on Wednesday – as evident from the denuded walls and plastic sheets that still draped the northeast corner of the sheriff’s headquarters. In the meantime, a box of copy paper continued to prop open the electronic door which leads to that wing of the building – presumably to air out the offices that had been drenched in the deluge.