A power outage caused by basement flooding at Geiger Corrections Center on Sunday, “reflects the challenges of keeping the pre-World War II facility operational,” the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said today.
“Nearly all the internal Geiger systems worked on Sunday were original equipment installed when the base was constructed in the early 1940s,” Sgt. Dave Reagan wrote. “The systems are failing and being repaired at an increasingly rapid rate. Roof leaks, plumbing problems and leaky floors plague the aging facility.”
The problems occurred at a building that doesn’t house inmates, but the water disabled security cameras, monitors and phones and prevents staff from opening and closing doors remotely.
The power outage also affected computer systems.
The power went out to the building and to the facility’s control room about 6 a.m. Sunday after 4 feet of water flooded the basement and knocked out ground-water pumps.
Avista Utilities crews replaced three damaged transformers, but a gas leak prevented the gas-fired generators from starting.
Power and phone service were restored at 4:15 p.m. The basement pumps failed again at 7 p.m., and staff switched to external, gasoline-powered pumps. Employees worked two-hour shifts to start the backup pump manually every 15 minutes, Reagan said.
Repair personnel are at Geiger today to fix computer systems.