An HVAC system failure at the Los Alamos County Detention Center forced the transfer of the detainees to facilities in Rio Arriba and Santa Fe.
Public Works Deputy Director Jon Bulthuis explained that the HVAC system is comprised of four units and the heating coils in each of those unit suffered debilitating failure.
On top of the HVAC system failing, the New Year’s Day snowstorm formed an ice dam around the drain on the detention center roof, causing water to leak into the building, Bulthuis said.
The parts to replace the heating coils have been ordered and repairs should happen next week, and it is anticipated the jail will be re-populated by Monday, Jan. 21, he said.
Police Chief Dino Sgambellone echoed this saying the plan is to complete the repairs next week after which the detainees will be returned to their cells.
It is uncertain why the heating coils all failed at the same time, but Bulthuis said when a series of similar parts fail simultaneously it is often an indication of a manufacturing defect. Nevertheless, some measures are being taken in case a similar situation arises.
“One of the things the facility manager will do is to have a temporary coil available for installation so that the down time would be reduced to no more than a day,” he said.
The reason the down time for this incident has been longer is because the coils are propriety parts and need to be ordered from the manufacturer, Bulthuis said, adding that the parts cost approximately $1,200 and County workers will do the installation.
Bulthuis said despite the long wait for the parts, he expects the response and repair to go smoothly.
Water covers the hallway at the Los Alamos Detention Center from an ice dam that formed Jan. 1 around the drain on the roof causing water to leak into the building. Courtesy/LAPD