jail leaks

Rowan Jailer Don Hall said water from the leaking roof has damaged the ceiling of an electrical room in the Rowan County Detention Center. Leaks also have damaged ceilings in the control room, all purpose room, cells and other areas of the jail.

Rowan County is proceeding with a legal complaint against a roof repair contractor who has yet to complete a job that the county hired him to do.

    County Attorney Cecil Watkins filed a complaint on Aug. 25 against All Weather Roof Systems, LLC, alleging breach of contract for the company’s failure to complete repairs to the roof of the Rowan County Detention Center.

    Rowan Fiscal Court had approved the company’s low bid of $13,500.

    Kari Leah Anderson, of Morehead, identified herself as the registered agent of All Weather Roof Systems in a recent telephone conversation with The Morehead News.

    Wendell Marrs is the contractor for the job. Marrs presented his bid and roof sealing process to the Fiscal Court last February.

“He told the Fiscal Court that he could seal the leaks,” said Rowan Jailer Don Hall.

    Judge-Executive Jim Nickell said the work has not been completed. 

“What it boils down to is that we bid it out several months ago and it has not been repaired to bid specifications,” said Nickell.

“It continues to leak and, although the contractor’s been back several times, it’s not resolved,” he added.  “We are taking action and the Court has directed the county attorney to follow up.” 

Rain water trickled into the jail Tuesday from various roof entry points. It rained Wednesday, too.

In the control room, a panel of the ceiling has been replaced by a strip of cardboard. It, plus blankets covering electronic equipment, is a temporary and ineffective fix to a longstanding problem in that and several other areas of the jail.

In one cell, water beads form on the ceiling and drop to the floor, running in a diagonal slant into towels laid to absorb the small but steady flow.

A large portion of the ceiling in an electrical room is brown, curled and peeling, evidence of sustained water damage. In the all-purpose room, a corner panel shows signs of a leak.

Hall said during heavy rains, the staff sometimes will empty several five-gallon buckets during a 24-hour shift.

As he ascended the ladder to the roof, the jailer conceded that most contractors said the roof should be replaced, an expensive proposition for a facility that will likely relocate with the next five years.

“We’ve been told we need a new roof,” said Hall.  “But the contractor for this repair job assured us that he could seal the leaks. It’s still leaking. ”

The roof even leaks when it’s not raining.

“Some rainwater gets trapped in the insulation. It can take days for it to break loose and run into the jail,” Hall said.

On the roof, Deputy David Fultz emphasized that point. He pressed a boot down on a spot where sealant was applied and it rippled underneath, evidence of water trapped in between the sealant and the original roof.

Hall and Fultz pointed out several areas where the sealant seems to have been haphazardly applied. At another spot, water oozed from a crack near where Fultz stepped.

In yet another place, a 4-inch by 2-inch section of the roof is exposed at the rim of a vent with dried sealant of various depths encasing the void.

    Hall appeared frustrated as he pointed out the problems.

    “I’m not a roofer but I can see that this is not done right,” he stated.

    He said Marrs and a work crew have made several return trips to complete the sealant coating process.

    Marrs told The Morehead News that he and other roofers recommended the county invest in a new roof.

    “They didn’t want that because they’re not going to be there long,” he said.

    Instead, the contractor said he purchased the liquid sealant manufactured by New Jersey-based Karnack Corporation from distributor Moore Roofing. Marrs said he applied the sealant according to the distributor’s specifications.

“I want to reiterate it wasn’t done improperly. I did as instructed by the distributor,” he said.

    Noelle Hunter can be reached at nhunter@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.


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