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Heat goes out in part of Montana State Prison, quickly fixed

Montana State Prison
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jan 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-14 14:41:50-05

DEER LODGE — One of the two boilers in part of the Montana State Prison failed on Friday, during a historic cold snap blanketing the state. According to a news release, extreme temperatures resulted in a malfunction of one of two boilers at the Work Reentry Center (WRC) at Montana State Prison Friday night.

Maintenance crews responded immediately to address the issue and functionality was restored the same day although it took a few hours for temperatures to rise to normal levels. Temperatures did not dip below 60 degrees in the building that houses about 180 of the more than 1,500 inmates at MSP.

“Unfortunately, MSP is not immune from the weather conditions that are affecting all Montanans this week,” said Montana Department of Corrections Director Brian Gootkin. “The health and safety of inmates under our care and our people are of utmost importance to the department and we are thankful for the fast action and dedication of our maintenance team to remedy this situation.”

Inmates living at the WRC were provided with extra blankets for warmth. Regular services, like meals, were not affected.

The department has established its Incident Command System (ICS) for the next 48 hours to manage any situations that may arise. This group includes members from throughout the department.

In the interest of public safety and to allow prison staff members to focus on the safe operation of the facility, visitation at MSP was suspended for the weekend.

This is the second time a boiler in a year has failed at the prison. In November of 2023, a 25-year-old boiler failed and a maintenance team responded immediately to the outage when it was reported, but discovered they needed to order a part and bring in a contract plumber to fix the 25-year-old boiler.

Historic cold over SW Montana Saturday morning resulted in numerous record lows in the 30s and 40s below zero.

Some of the coldest morning temperatures hit Butte and Belgrade, both falling to -45° below zero. Dillon, Helena, and Ennis also note new record lows.


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