A Lucas County sheriff’s deputy speaks with a Toledo Edison employee in front of the jail while it lacked electric service. The jail lost power about 6:50 p.m. Tuesday. It was restored 23 hours later.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
After more than 23 hours in the dark, the lights came back on Wednesday evening at the Lucas County jail, ending a power outage that remains under investigation.
Inmates remained in their cells throughout the blackout, during which minimal backup lighting was powered by generators. Police officers and sheriff’s deputies kept a security perimeter outside the 1622 Spielbusch Ave. building.
Three other downtown Toledo buildings also lost power in separate, but concurrent outages.
Debbie Paul, Toledo Edison’s external-affairs manager, said although power was restored to the jail shortly after 6 p.m. and to the other buildings at 7:50 p.m., the cause of the outages is not yet known.
She said she expects the cause to be determined today.
Sheriff John Tharp had been frustrated by a procession of missed time promises for power restoration at the jail, which Ms. Paul blamed on equipment failures around 6:50 p.m. Tuesday.
“I’ve been told since 7 o’clock yesterday [Tuesday] probably eight or nine times that it was supposed to come on,” the sheriff said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s like, ‘The check’s in the mail.’ ”
“It was a whole myriad of things that should have worked, but did not,” Ms. Paul said, explaining that the outages started with a pair of nearly simultaneous equipment failures in underground vaults Tuesday evening.
Other buildings affected were:
● The Hylant Building, 811 Madison Ave.
● The AT&T Building, also known as the Ohio Bell Telephone Building, 121 N. Huron St.
● The Tower on the Maumee, formerly known as the Fiberglas Tower.
Although the latter is unoccupied, Ms. Paul noted, it has numerous active broadcasting and telecommunications antennas on its roof.
Dave Ball, the Hylant Building’s owner, said backup generators provided power for computers and equipment, but the building’s lights and escalators were disabled.
Jail staff used cell phones to communicate after the power went out there, according to the sheriff’s office.
The outage also disabled the secure underground tunnel between the jail and the Lucas County Courthouse, causing several court hearings to be postponed.
“Unless power is restored, they are not going to be able to transport prisoners from the jail to the court today [Wednesday],” Roger Kerner, Jr., director of the court deputies office, said early in the day.
The outage also prompted the sheriff’s records bureau to cancel issuing concealed-carry licenses and fingerprint services Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office Facebook page, and an employees’ monthly award ceremony set for today is to be rescheduled.