ICE detainee allegedly starts fire inside max-security unit at Etowah County Detention Center


ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — An investigation is underway after an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainee reportedly set a fire inside a maximum-security unit at the Etowah County Detention Center.

According to the Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin, the fire was reported around 7:43 a.m. Friday in Unit 3. A detainee allegedly sparked a fire inside the common area of the unit, then set his mattress on fire inside his cell.

The fire activated the sprinkler system inside the unit.

Entrekin says the detainee, along with four others, were outside their cells on free time when it happened. The detainees involved are reported to be 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,” a press release emailed to media said. “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.”

Sheriff Entrekin said in the release: “I want to personally thank the Gadsden Fire Department for their quick and professional response. They did an excellent job in containing the fire. 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.”

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