Roughly $7K spent on cleanup after Alpena inmate tampers with sprinkler head

The total cost of cleaning up damage at the Alpena County Jail after an inmate tampered with a sprinkler head is a little under $7,000.

The county’s Facilities, Capital & Strategic Planning Committee Wednesday, voted to pay the bills versus file an insurance claim.

The decision was reached after commissioners on the committee learned the insurance deductible is $5,000; and after they agreed with County Administrator Mary Catherine Hannah that filing a claim might lead to a higher insurance rate in the future.

On Sunday March 5, at approximately 1:30 in the morning, an inmate used a toothbrush to dislodge a sprinkler head which caused water to gush out. In addition to general clean up, water got into light fixtures and damaged three mattresses.

The largest expense of approximately $3,300 will be paid to Service Master for general cleanup. Another roughly $2,300 will be going to the company that fixed the sprinkler head; and another $1,000 was spent on officer overtime following the incident.

Sheriff Erik Smith told the committee the sprinkler head was supposed to be “tamper proof.” “We have to have fire suppression and we have to give inmates toothbrushes so yes this could happen again,” said Smith, who hopes making an example of the inmate by attempting to prosecute him will make other inmates think twice before they attempt the same thing.

Smith added that corrections officers were properly performing their duties that morning, and that the inmate waited for officers to complete their visual inspection of the pod before he “messed” with the sprinkler head.