KINGWOOD, W.Va. (WBOY) — Following the severe winter conditions at the end of 2022, Preston County’s Sheriff’s facility faced a major flood that led to severe structural damages.
The flood took place on December 27 after a pipe burst in the attic of the sheriff’s office, filling every floor beneath it with water. The building is nearly one hundred years old making the overall costs and effects of the damages much more difficult.
Since the day-to-day functions that happen within the Preston County sheriff’s office cannot be put on hold for reconstruction, staff within the office are still working in the facility despite its conditions.
The majority of staff now share one office as the bulk of the rooms are now unusable. The only progress made as far as reconstruction includes some flooring and minor electrical removal.
12 News spoke with Preston County’s Sheriff, P.A. Paul “Moe” Pritt, on how the damage has affected the functionality of the facility.
“All those things are integral in how we operate and when we had the water pipe burst, it almost crippled us, but we had nowhere functionally to go,” said Pritt.
President of Preston County Commission, Samantha Stone, spoke with 12 News about the difficulties in the progression of the reconstruction. Stone stated that insurance would not cover the entirety of damages and additional funding will have to be sourced from the Preston County Commission’s budget.
Beyond the minor levels of functionality within the Preston County Sheriff’s Office, one of the biggest issues is the lack of an expected time frame for the completion of the project.
“We’re hopeful, you know, I would like to say within the next month-ish, I mean, as soon as possible, that’s the best answer I can give because it really is not ideal working conditions for our sheriff’s department,” said Stone.
Stone says that despite the hardships, those at the sheriff’s department have been “true champions” for maintaining function under such stressful working conditions, though the Preston County Commission is very eager to further-continue the reconstruction process.