No Heat in Cole County Holding Cells

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JEFFERSON CITY - Heat in the holding cells at the Cole County Courthouse is completely out and has been that way for days.

"On Monday or Tuesday it stopped," said John Wheeler, the chief deputy with the Cole County Sheriff's Department. "They came in and it was 11 degrees inside the facility, a little too cold. So we went up and talked to the commission about replacing one of the boilers."

The current boilers are about 12 years old and Wheeler said some of the parts they need to fix them can no longer be purchased and full-replacements are needed.

"Now we have to look into replacing them, which is anywhere between $12 and $15 thousand dollars," said Wheeler.

Cole County commissioners met Thursday morning to vote whether to approve money to fix the problem in the facility, which has been functioning since the late 30's.

While most inmates are held in the new facility across the street, prisoners who are awaiting trial and those arrested are still being held in the cold cells for several hours throughout the day.

"There may be five over there right now, but they won't stay there," said Wheeler. "They will come back at the end of each day to the [new] facility."

KOMU 8 News talked to one woman who thinks the facility should get fixed soon. "At least try to double-up on the blankets right now, as much as they can," said Debra Banes. "It is getting really cold out and I know Friday they are calling for some snow, so hopefully they can get that fixed so it doesn't get too cold in there for them."

A deadline to fix the heat has not yet been set.