A main water line break at the intersection of Pennington Drive and West Walnut Street over the Labor Day weekend forced Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks to empty the Logan County Jail for a day and find housing for 39 prisoners last week.

Hicks said he was notified about the water line break on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. He said he was told the Logan County Detention Center, located on Grober Street, two blocks south of where the line broke, would be out of water for two to four hours.

“At that point, we brought in bottled water,” Hicks said last week. “Two hours later, I was notified by city of Paris employees that we’d have water, possibly by between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. the next day (Tuesday, Sept. 6).”

Because the water line turns at a 90 degree angle where the break took place, the repair had to be surrounded by concrete and that required time to cure, prompting the issuance of a boil order affecting about 163 residential and business customers living west of Roseville Street.

That meant the jail would be without water for a couple of days, Hicks said.

“I knew we couldn’t go two to three days without flushing toilets,” he said.

Hicks then got on the telephone and called officials in Johnson, Yell and Scott counties asking if they could house some of the 39 inmates at the Logan County Jail.

“They all called back and said they could take some,” Hicks said. “Scott County said they could take all of them.”

Arrangements were made to transport prisoners. The transport operation began at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 and lasted the rest of the day, Hicks said.

“I then asked my jailers if they would be willing to go to Scott County and help them watch our prisoners,” Hicks said. “To their credit, three shifts of employees agreed to do it.”

Hicks said Scott County will bill Logan County for the cost of housing prisoners.

“They’re charging us $50 per day, per prisoner,” he said.

The 39 Logan County Jail prisoners were in the Scott County facility for one day at a cost of $1,950, Hicks said.

“I appreciate Johnson, Scott and Yell county officials responding in a positive way,” Hicks said. “We’ve got that kind of relationship. It’s good to know that if something happens, they’ve got our back.”

This is the second time in two years that a water line break in Paris has left the Logan County Jail out of water, Hicks said.

“Last time, we hauled in tanks of water and that didn’t work out very well,” he said. “Right now, we’re looking at putting in an additional water source when we build the new county jail.”