Jail cell doors

The Palo Pinto County Jail has water again after last week’s winter storm left it without.

However, Palo Pinto County Sheriff Brett McGuire said they fared well overall and the jail did not see power failure, though backup generators in place would have prevented that. The jail lost water on Feb. 18.

“Were were affected by the water main breaks coming out of Mineral Wells but we have some bottled water on hand for emergencies,” McGuire said. “We did bring a water storage truck in from Precinct 1, which is Commissioner [Gary] Glover, and that’s non-potable so we were able to utilize that for the flushing of the commodes and that type of stuff.”

The Palo Pinto County Jail was able to get five pallets of bottled water from Erath County.

“We were able to cook, we could still flush things, everyone could still bathe if they needed to and we still had plenty of drinking water,” McGuire said.

At Tuesday's commissioners court meeting, McGuire said water has been restored to the jail but they are under a boil water notice at this time. 

The Parker County Jail saw no power or water outages.

“Our biggest challenge during events like this is always staffing, getting our officers to the facility safely,” Parker County Jail Warden Ron King said.

Other jails and prisons in the state suffered power failures and water disruption that led to plumbing issues and frigid temperatures for officers and inmates, according to The Texas Tribune.

King said Parker County had a group of essential staff that lives close enough to the facility to cover the shifts of those that could not drive in the conditions.

“We made it through the storm because of their commitment to their profession,” he said. “I am grateful for that and them.”

They had at least one nurse on shift at all times, one kitchen member, a maintenance employee during the day and an average of 16 officers per shift.

“I had our non-essential staff stay home,” he said. “All hourly employees received overtime and we provided some meals for them as well.

“One kind act from the community was Chicken Express provided us with a warm and delicious meal and at a big discount for our entire staff last Tuesday — a big thank you to them.”

McGuire said being in a rural county, most of their officers have vehicles that can drive in the elements.

Additionally, McGuire said the Palo Pinto County Jail didn’t suffer any structural damage.

“We did have a couple of pipes break in some of our back areas of the jail that are more for storage, so they’re not populated areas,” he said. “No major damage though and we got those shut down and repaired. We did not fare terribly.”

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