Inmate dong chin-ups on water pipe leads to flood at county jail

LACONIA — It got a little wet in the mens' minimum security dorm at the Belknap County House of Corrections on the morning of August 8 when a couple of minimum security inmates doing chin ups on a sprinkler system pipe broke it near the valve.

Superintendent Daniel Ward said water poured from the broken pipe and by the time the broken portion of the system was shut down, he said water flooded the dorm.

Ward said there was surprising very little damage because the floor and walls in the dorm are cement and the actual sprinkler system didn't deploy.

He said the male inmates in the ward were evacuated to the yard while maintenance and corrections officials used water vacuums to suck up the water. Ward said it took about two or three hours for maintenance to replace the broken pipe and the valve and to clean up the water.

"It was a mess but it was (cleaned up) pretty quick," Ward said.

He said they have the entire incident on tape and parts of it are kind of comical. He said the man was sliding on the pipe "like a monkey" when it appears he heard it crack. He said he and two others just ran as fast as they could to get away from the cascade of water.

"It's likely not intentional," Ward said. He added that it was a reckless act because the pipe is painted bright red "so they won't hang on it."

"It's just not designed to handle a couple of hundred extra pounds," he said.

The Belknap County Sheriff's Office is investigating but he said there likely won't be any additional criminal charges.

"We will seek restitution," he said. He said the damage was $353.