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Pipe break causes flooding in Maricopa's 4th Avenue Jail

Flooding from a Dec. 27 pipe break in the 4th Avenue Jail in Phoenix is shown. (Photo courtesy of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX -- A pipe broke Friday, Dec. 27, on the third floor of the 4th Avenue Jail in Phoenix and caused flooding in the floors below, according to a press release Monday from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

The break happened in a control tower and is believed to be caused inadvertently by an employee. The pipe was a high-pressure fire sprinkler main line, and water leaked down two floors after the break.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said no one was hurt, but that operations within the jail were hampered over the weekend and that floors, walls and equipment did dry out until Monday.

Fifty inmates had to be moved outside to Tent City, and some electrical equipment had to be turned off until Monday. Inmates contributed to the brunt of the clean-up work.

"Staff and inmates may have been slightly inconvenienced by it and visitation had to be cancelled. But the important thing is no injuries or behavioral disruptions occurred. And now operations are back to normal," Arpaio said.

The employee believed to have caused the pipe break, who is a probationary detention officer, has been placed on administrative leave with pay, and the investigation is ongoing.

MCSO added that the employee did not appear to intend to damage the building.

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