2008-09-24 / Police Reports

Western Pa. State Prison Hit With Power Outage

SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) - The State Correctional Institute at Somerset lost power because of malfunctioning generators and the prison was put on lockdown Wednesday, according to the state Department of Corrections.

The medium-security prison lost power Wednesday afternoon during a monthly test of the generator system and the entire prison was without power at 2 p.m.

"At that point they saw some smoke,'' prison spokeswoman Heidi Sroka told the Somerset Daily American. "Fire crews came in from Somerset around 2 p.m. and didn't find anything.''

Because of the outage, which also affected telephone lines, inmates were locked in their cells. As of Aug. 31, the prison had just over 2,300 inmates. Visitations were also suspended until power is restored.

"All of the inmates are locked in their cells and they're feeding inmates in their cells as well as giving them medical treatment in their cells,'' department spokeswoman Sue McNaughton said.

"It's safe, everything's fine. It's just that they're without power,'' Mc- Naughton said. The prison brought in extra patrols and the state police were also patrolling the area.

New lighting was also brought in and crews were working to restore power, but McNaughton said it could be a couple days before power is restored.

The prison opened in 1993.

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