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Department of Corrections orders Bell County Detention Center closed

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 17:07:09-05

BELL COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Citing safety violations, the Kentucky Department of Corrections has ordered the Bell County Detention Center closed.

Jail officials were notified Friday that the facility must be completely evacuated by 5 p.m. on Feb. 5, 2020.

The closure stems from the continued failure of the jail to remedy its inoperable smoke evacuation system, a critical life safety component of detention facilities. Without a properly functioning smoke evacuation system, inmate living areas are unprotected in the event of a fire.

The state noted that jail officials made minimal progress correcting the violations and gave them an extension to Jan. 30.

“The Department of Corrections gave Bell County officials ample opportunity to correct this situation and repair or replace the smoke evacuation system,” said Corrections Commissioner Kathleen Kenney. “Our safety concerns were not addressed, which led us to close the jail.”