At 7:43 a.m. today a fire was reported in Unit 3 of the Etowah County Detention Center, according to Sheriff Todd Entrekin.
The fire was started, inside the maximum-security unit, by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee. Allegedly, a detainee sparked a fire inside the common area of the unit, then set his mattress on fire inside his cell. The sprinkler system inside the unit did activate.
The detainee, along with four others detainees, were outside of their cell on free time. The individuals allegedly involved are from the Middle East and Asia.
All inmates and detainees are accounted for inside the detention center. This was an isolated incident inside Unit 3 and no other units were ever in danger during the event. At this time, there is no need to evacuate any inmates or detainees to other facilities.
There are no serious injuries to anyone inside the facility. Inmates who have complained with breathing issues received immediate medical attention and have been returned back to their unit. All Sheriff’s Office employees have also been checked and cleared by medical personnel.
“I want to personally thank the Gadsden Fire Department for their quick and professional response. They did an excellent job in containing the fire,” Sheriff Entrekin said.
He added, “Words cannot express my appreciation and gratitude to the employees of the Sheriff’s Office, especially those inside the detention center. The detention deputies acted quickly to ensure the safety of all inside Unit 3. Their noble actions saved lives today.”
The Gadsden Fire Department and Etowah County Arson Task Force will be investigating the incident.
A special thanks also to the Gadsden Police Department for their assistance today.