Detention officer fired after flooding incident causes $250,000 in damage at Fourth Avenue Jail

PHOENIX - An employee with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has been fired after reportedly admitting to hanging from a pipe at the Fourth Avenue Jail back in December causing it to break and flood the complex.

Lt. Brandon Jones said initial numbers estimate the damage to be near $250,000. However, officials are working to finalize that number as damage is still being repaired.

Jones identified the employee as Terry Wheeler, a detention officer who had been with the department for less than a year. He was let go on Jan. 27.

According to MCSO, Wheeler had "other job performance issues prior to this incident."

MCSO officials said the incident happened on the third floor within the jail's control tower. The water leaked down two floors to the central intake area.

Several computer systems, visitor systems, TV and other electronic components were damaged in the flood, said Jones. All systems related to inmate and employee protection and security were repaired immediately, he said. Outstanding cosmetic repairs, such as structural damage, will take time to complete.

Jones told ABC15 in December that 50 inmates had to be moved to Tent City while the jail was being cleaned.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said most of the clean up was done by the inmates themselves.


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