Power Out At 3 Jails After Snake Slithers Into Fuse Box

No Reports Of Problems With Inmates

A rattlesnake crawled into a fuse box and shorted out the power at three Otay Mesa jails, San Diego County sheriff's officials said.

The rattlesnake caused a short circuit that heavily damaged the power plant for the three jail generators at about 12 p.m. Tuesday, sheriff's spokesman Chris Saunders said. He said the intrusion proved fatal for the rattler.

Replacement parts were delivered from Los Angeles Tuesday night and repairs are being made this morning, he said.

Full power was not restored to the jails as of 5 a.m. Wednesday, sheriff's Lt. Edna Ito said.

"This is a huge fuse box that runs all three facilities that the snake got into," Ito said. "Who needs terrorists when you got a rattlesnake?"

There were no reports of problems involving inmates because of the power outage, Saunders and Ito said.

The East Mesa Detention Facility was without power for five hours, Saunders said. Backup generators restored full operations at the medium-security jail, he said.

The maximum-security George Baily Detention Facility and the privately run Corrections Corporation of America Facility are running on reduced generator power, Saunders said.

The East Mesa jail prepares meals for all jail inmates in the system and hot meals were served there when full generator service began, Saunders said. The other two jails could not reheat the meals and inmates ate cold sandwiches for dinner, he said.

Afternoon visiting hours were canceled due to the outage, Saunders said.

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