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Power outages at Kentucky State Reformatory put about 450 inmates out of their dorms for three to four days last week, but without major incident.Administrator Gary Prestigiacomo said a steam pipe broke and flooded the basement of a dormitory Jan. 2.La Grange Fire and Rescue Chief Jim Sitzler said as the water rose, it got into the electrical room and shorted everything out. LFRD firefighters pumped at least four feet of water from the basement, he said. Three dorms lost power that afternoon.As a result, about 450 inmates were relocated from dark and cold dorms to newer housing units which still had power, Prestigiacomo said, where they slept on the floor in the large common areas in those buildings.Prestigiacomo said prison officials beefed up security, especially around the perimeter with added patrols and lighting. A fence surrounding the facility is not electronic. Officials increased staff by 20 to 25 employees per shift by doubling shift length from eight to 16 hours. The kitchen staff was limited in what they could cook, but managed to find alternatives, Prestigiacomo said.He said while an incident like a power outage has potential for problems, inmates have been cooperative. No fights or major incidents have been reported.Inmates returned to their normal living quarters Friday and Saturday as the institution relied on power from generators.As of press time, KSR was still running on power from generators, but Prestigiacomo said they hoped to have the normal electrical system running Wednesday afternoon. He said the prison was back to running almost normally but staff are still working 12-hour shifts for increased security.Visitation was cancelled Friday, but is now back to normal.Some computers were damaged by the power surge. There was no water damage to speak of since the flooded basement is all concrete, Prestigiacomo said.
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