The Darke County Jail has been shut down after 10 more officers were sent to the hospital Wednesday after a Tuesday meth spill got into air-handling system.
The white powder spilled at the jail around 1 p.m. while Stephen Garner was being booked, according to a release from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. Here’s what we know about the incident:
1. METHAMPHETAMINE The powder was identified Wednesday as methamphetamine by the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab.
2. INITIAL AFTERMATH Four officers and Garner had to be taken to WayneHealthcare, where they were treated and released. Garner was placed into the Ohio Adult Parole Authority's custody, deputies said.
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3. WHAT HAPPENED? In the morning hours Wednesday, air-handling units were turned back on in the affected area. "After several hours of routine operation, deputies and corrections officers began to feel ill and experienced abnormal vital signs," the release stated.
4. WHO ELSE WAS IMPACTED? Five corrections officers were taken to WayneHealthcare, and later as crews worked to identify and contain the situation, five more officers began to show signs of contamination and were taken to the hospital.
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5. HOW DOES THE JAIL FIX THE ISSUE? The Darke County Jail structure operations on multiple separate air-handling units, and other areas of the jail, including inmate wards, 911 dispatch and the road patrol areas were not affected. However, 28 inmates were taken to Miami County and Mercer County jails and the jail operation will remain shut down until a private environmental contractor can clean and decontaminate the affected area, according to the sheriff's office.
“It is believed that the methamphetamine was drawn into a ventilation air handler at the time of the spill,” according to the release. “When the air handler was turned back on it distributed enough methamphetamine throughout the prisoner booking and intake area of the jail to result in toxic exposure to jail staff.”
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