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Testimony: Cold temperatures at federal prison preceded fire

February 5, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Prison employees and inmates say chilly temperatures inside a New York City federal lockup came weeks before a fire left some inmates without heat, light, hot water, and attorney and family visits for a week.

The extent of the damage from the Jan. 27 fire was described in detail Tuesday at hearings in Manhattan and Brooklyn courts.

Advocates for the inmates say the conditions were worsened by a lack of communication or misleading statements from prison officials.

Prison officials who testified in Manhattan federal court insisted they responded immediately to the fire and acted quickly to rectify its effect on the institution that houses over 1,600 inmates.

But several prison employees said guards reported there was no heat for a few days even before the fire happened.

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This story has been corrected to show that the testimony came Tuesday, not Wednesday.

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