Clogged gas line causes inmate evacuation

Robert Taylor

Over the weekend at the Kent Safety Administration Building, police were the ones cooling their heels while those in jail found themselves taking a field trip.

On Saturday, a gas line became clogged after a great deal of condensation accumulated in it, Kent Safety Director William Lillich said. The clogged line caused the building to lose heat.

While just fewer than 30 employees were forced to stay at work during the cold, those in the Kent jail were transferred to the Portage County Jail to avoid getting too cold in their cells.

“We placed small heaters around the station where most of the people were working so that they wouldn’t get too cold,” Lillich said. “However, the temperature did get as low as 55 degrees in some places.”

This isn’t the first time the Safety Administration Building has suddenly lost heat; a similar event happened last year but was quickly fixed.

The building first operated as Kent’s fire station when it was built more than 70 years ago, and Lillich blamed the recurring problems on the building’s age.

After four days of cold and waiting, a crew from Dominion East Ohio Gas Company set to work to repair the problems Monday morning. They worked all day on the problem and finally got the heat turned on again Monday night.

“Dominion probably had a fair amount of work already scheduled that weekend for repairs, which is why it took so long to get to,” Lillich said.

Those arrested in Kent shouldn’t look forward to any more abrupt field trips in the near future, the jail is ready to accommodate once again.

Contact public affairs reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected].