North Carolina Department of Correction news release

Prison managers wary as hurricane leaves Wilmington and heads north

AUGUST 27, 1998

After a daylong pounding of North Carolina’s southern coast, Hurricane Bonnie is slowly moving northward, leaving Wilmington-area state prison managers tired and those still waiting for the storm wary of its rain and winds.

"Our prisons have safely weathered the first day of the hurricane," said Dan Stieneke, state prison director. "We suffered only minor damage where siding was torn off buildings at one or two facilities and a tree fell on a security fence at the minimum security prison in Wilmington. We’ll quickly take care of those problems as soon as the weather allows."

At his prison since early Tuesday morning, New Hanover Correctional Center superintendent Larry Sneed said, "We have a lot of tired staff and inmates – this was a long one. But, I guess if you have to have a hurricane, this was better than some."

The Wilmington area experienced hurricane winds of 115 mph and forecasters predicted the drenching rains could total 20 inches.

"We’re fairing pretty well," said Duncan Daughtry, superintendent of Carteret Correctional Center. "We lost a little bit of siding and had some limbs fall on a canopy over the door, damaging it - but no major damage."

Like thousands of other customers across the state, many of the prisons along the coast have been without power for hours. Craven and Pender correctional institutions and Carteret, Duplin and Hyde correctional centers all turned to generators after utilities lost power.

"We’ve been without power for over 24 hours, but we have our emergency power on, and we have plenty of fuel," said Mike Bell, superintendent of Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw. "All things considered, we’re in pretty good shape."

North coastal residents and state prison superintendents are still waiting for the storm.

"We haven’t had much of anything yet," said Charles Creecy, superintendent of Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City. "We still have all our emergency preparations in place. We are prepared for the worst, but are looking for the best."

As soon as weather allows communities to assess their damage, prison managers expect to begin receiving requests through emergency management to help in clean up efforts.

"We’ve had no requests for assistance yet," Steineke said at mid-morning. "I’m gathering from my talks with our prison superintendents and from news reports that this hurricane was not nearly as damaging as Fran."

Prison managers have organized and made plans to put inmate clean up crews in place along the coast.


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