The Christian County Jail has failed its fire inspection. Regional Radio News has learned through a Freedom of Information Act request, that the Taylorville Fire Department conducted an inspection on March 20th, 2023. The Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp, requested the inspection be done. From that report, many fire and life safety concerns came out of it. The jail, which is 48 years old, was originally built up to the fire code at the time which allowed for up to two hours of fire rating in the exterior wall, and was a non-combustible type building. However, due to maintenance work and other upgrades and repairs, it is no longer up to code.
Among some of the issues that the jail has is egress issues, electrical issues, and many general issues. Some of the issues include: multiple ceiling tiles missing, storage too close to the ceiling, kerosene is stored inside the building, space heaters in the building, structural support beams having rust issues and fire retardant material is gone, and personal property is not in a metal or fire resistive container. CO Alarms are not functional, and multiple documentation is missing.
The report goes on to say that as the jail sits currently, it is not permitted (by life safety code) to be operated as a detention facility. With the many additions and modifications over time, the report says that the building has negated much of the fire and life safety features that the building was built with.
The report, which was dated March 28th, says that within the next 15 days, which would be April 12th, code violations needed to be remedied to reduce the risk of fire. The county was also told it needs to seek the assistance of a licensed architect and/or structural engineering firm to help address structural issues.
Sheriff Kettelkamp says that he is working with the county to remedy these issues.
There recently was a referendum to build a completely new jail in the county but it failed to get enough votes.