Public Safety

Prisoner barricaded himself in burning cell, assaulted correctional officer

A row of cells at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison on Friday, January 23, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A row of cells at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison on Friday, January 23, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

An inmate at the Iowa State Penitentiary reportedly lit a fire in his cell and assaulted a correctional officer Friday.

According to a news release from the Iowa Department of Corrections, the incident happened at 11:52 a.m. Friday after a fire alarm was triggered in the living unit at the prison. Inmates were evacuated to the yard, but the release states one inmate barricaded himself in his cell, where a fire had been lit. The inmate is suspected to have started the fire, the release said.

Prison staff attempted to remove the inmate and extinguish the fire, but the inmate resisted, attacking the correctional officers with closed-fist strikes, the release said. The inmate was subdued with pepper spray and the fire was extinguished.

The staff involved in the incident were treated by prison medical staff for smoke inhalation and other minor injuries before returning to work, and the report states the inmate was transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to be treated for self-inflicted injuries.

The prison was placed on restricted movement while the smoke cleared and has since returned to normal operation.

The incident is under investigation.

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