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Lawmakers Demand Probe Into Gas Leaks At Danbury Federal Prison

The Danbury Federal Correctional Institution
AP Photo/Douglas Healey
The Danbury Federal Correctional Institution

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Representative Jahana Hayes of Connecticut are demanding a health and safety assessment of the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury following two gas leaks at the prison.

On November 13, Yankee Gas crews isolated the reported gas leak and alerted the prison that immediate repair was required. On December 26, Yankee Gas and the Danbury Fire Department first responders were denied access to the facility until the following day due to communication failures in the facility, the lawmakers said.

They sent a letter to Diane Easter, Warden of FCI Danbury, asking for an immediate review of the facility’s infrastructure.

“One gas leak may be an isolated incident,” they wrote, “but two different gas leaks in two different sections of piping in as many months is indicative of a larger, systemic infrastructure problem at FCI Danbury that must be investigated and remedied as soon as possible.”

Blumenthal, Murphy, and Hayes said they were concerned about the facility’s COVID-19 testing and mitigation practices. Inmates have testified to long wait times for lab results with inconsistent monitoring and a lack of distancing. Nearly 200 inmates and 74 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.