Cortland County Jail inmates moved to neighboring jails after roof leak, sheriff says

The Cortland County Jail in August 2015 (Cortland Voice file photo)

CORTLAND, N.Y. — More than an inch of rain was apparently too much for the roof of the Cortland County Jail to handle.

The roof of the jail first began leaking early Thursday morning, according to Sheriff Mark Helms. The rain didn't let up, and corrections officers began noticing more leaks throughout the jail.

By 8 a.m., enough water flooded into the dormitory area of the 90-bed facility for the sheriff to order an evacuation of all inmates from that area.

About 2-3 inches of water covered the floor, Sheriff Helms said.

As the morning went on, the leaks got worse. Employees from the county's buildings and grounds department tried to resolve the issue but "were unable to control all the leaks," Sheriff Helms said in a written statement sent Thursday evening.

The majority of the inmates were evacuated and sent to three neighboring county jails for temporary housing, he said.

"The evacuation went extremely well and at no time were any inmates in any danger," Helms' statement read.

Helms said very few inmates will be housed at the jail until the building can be repaired from the rain damage, the extent of which is unknown.

Anyone interested in finding out where a friend or family member is currently being housed can call (607) 756-4275 for more information, Helms said.