Sheriff: Unicoi Co. Jail inmates evacuated, deteriorating sewer lines found

Unicoi County Jail Basement
Unicoi County Jail Basement

UNICOI COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The Unicoi County Jail was evacuated Monday afternoon due to a plumbing problem.

Tuesday morning, Sheriff Mike Hensley told News Channel 11 a construction team evaluated the situation at the jail and repair work will begin Wednesday.

According to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, the jail was evacuated after a leak was discovered last week in the basement of the jail.

Hensley said they found sewer lines — dating back to the 1970s — deteriorated with holes in them underneath the jail.

He said it would take at least a week to fix all of the plumbing problems at the jail and was estimated to cost several thousands of dollars to make repairs.

According to Hensley, heat and air vents were also impacted and were filled with sewer water.

The inmates were moved Monday night.

Hensley said 48 inmates from Unicoi County are currently being housed at the jail in Carter County.

According to Hensley, some state inmates being held in Unicoi County were taken to a state penitentiary in Bledsoe County – just outside Knoxville.

According to Hensley, he said people will still be booked into Unicoi County but said inmates will then be transferred to Carter County. The sheriff adds that Carter County will be reimbursed for housing the prisoners.

Female inmates housed in the county off of Jackson Love Highway were not impacted.

Hensley said Unicoi County Jail was currently at its maximum capacity, which is 62 inmates.

Keep checking for updates to this story as information becomes available. Tonight on News Channel 11 we will take a deeper look inside the jail and the repairs that will need to be made as well as the cost.

Sheriff Mike Hensley told News Channel 11 the repairs could take up to a week to complete.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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