The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian Wednesday:
***For Immediate Release***
Gas Line Break at Monroe County Jail causing Lockdown and evacuation plan on standby.
On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at approximately 3:42 PM, ASI maintenance crew removed a toilet in the Monroe County Jail. After exiting the building and placing the toilet outside, the inlet valve for a gas line into the Monroe County Correctional Center was struck. As a result, this caused a gas leak outside the building.
Sheriff Marte` immediately placed the inmate population on lockdown, called the Bloomington
City Fire Department and all involved utilities including Centerpoint Energy. Along with the lockdown, Sheriff Marte` immediately stopped the use of all gas appliances within the Monroe County Correctional Center. The Bloomington City Fire Department arrived at 3:47 PM and was escorted into the facility by correction staff. During this time, they checked the building’s air quality levels every 15 minutes and checked to ensure there was not an additional gas leak within the building.
While BFD was inside the Monroe County Correctional Center, IU Health Bloomington
Hospital EMS personnel and BFD sent additional EMS personnel to check blood pressure and CO2
reading on anyone feeling the effects of the gas leak. BFD continued to monitor the air quality to ensure they stayed below nonexplosive level.
Sheriff Marte` with command staff started our short-term evacuation plan by placing all Merit
Deputies (38), Reserves (13), and all Correctional Staff (75) on standby. Sheriff Marte` re-arranged the evening meal to be catered for our inmates by ordering pizza from various local pizza places for our 200-inmate population. Operations remained normal other than temporarily changing the entrance for inmate intake.
At 06:07 PM, BFD advised the levels were still decreasing and that it remained safe to have the inmates and staff members on-site, thus negating the need to activate our short-term evacuation plan.
Repairs were started by digging up the location for the shutoff valve at 06:07 PM.
At 07:12 PM, the gas line leak was stopped by Centerpoint Energy.
We are very thankful for the Bloomington City Fire Department’s rapid and professional response.