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Two representatives from the state fire marshal’s office addressed the Gage County building and grounds committee Monday morning.

Bob Sleight and Sean Lindgren presented the committee with a list of items needed to be addressed in order for the current county jail to meet code. 

Lindgren, a deputy fire marshal assigned to Gage County, first addressed the fact that the building as a whole consists of two different construction types. The office portion is a different construction type than the corrections portion.

But because there’s no construction with a two-hour fire resistance rating separating the two areas, the entire building is considered a detention and correction facility. Therefore, a more stringent fire code has to be applied.

Sleight said there are alternatives to some of the items presented and said a sprinkler system would go a long way in solving some problems.

“We identified the issues that are over there,” Sleight said. “Now we’ll work on how to correct them. There are ways to work with it and there are alternatives. A sprinkler systems will buy you a lot.”

The two fire marshals expressed that all of the items listed don’t need to be fixed immediately. Sleight said the items that should be dealt with first are the items necessary  to keep the jail operating.

The two fire marshals expressed a desire to work with the county.

“We want to work with you because we realize that sheriff’s office has been there a long time,” Sleight said. “And all of the sudden we got three or four pages of things that need to be looked at. We understand it’s hard, that’s why we want to work with you on a time frame.”

Many of the items listed are basic maintenance jobs required annually. Sleight stressed that the building has been well maintained throughout the years.

“The facility is kept well,” Sleight said. “But you get into older facilities and things just happen.”

Supervisor Dave Anderson agreed.

“It’s clean, it’s safe, it’s secure and it has met standards,” Anderson said. “Things just get old and they need upgraded from time to time.”

Supervisor Dennis Byars reminded that the items presented at Monday’s meeting are items that need to be fixed.

“What’s important for the public to know is we have to meet code,” Byars said. “It’s not a matter of something that we have alternatives with. We have to meet code.”


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