Nine people at the Barton Street detention centre were sent to hospital for smoke inhalation
Nine people were sent to hospital with smoke inhalation after a fire broke out at the Barton Street jail Friday evening.
The “small fire” started on the first floor of the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre just before 6 p.m., said fire department spokesperson Claudio Mostacci.
“Crews made entry and were able to knock the fire down quickly,” he said.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services said five inmates and three correctional officers were sent to hospital. (The position of the ninth injured party wasn’t clear.)
Citing privacy concerns, spokesperson Andrew Morrison wouldn’t say what injuries they suffered but Mostacci said the patients had “various degrees” of smoke inhalation.
Morrison said other inmates affected by the fire were moved to other parts of the jail for safety.
“The ministry is investigating the circumstances of a fire at the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre. Correctional staff acted quickly to contain the fire and ensure the safety of inmates.”
Each of the jail’s five floors has two ranges (blocks of cells) with a dorm in the middle.
Union officials representing correctional officers at the jail couldn’t be reached for comment.
The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has been called to investigate because the fire happened at a correctional facility. A damage estimate was not immediately available.
Morrison noted correctional staff would “monitor the well-being of the affected inmates.”
Family members with loved ones in the jail were concerned when they couldn’t immediately reach them to find out if they were OK. Leslie Bailey said her 25-yearold stepson has been in the Barton jail for a couple of months.
“I’m kind of shaken,” said the Dunnville resident. “I just want to know.”
Last July, a fire broke out in an inmate’s cell at the jail. The man had piled paper around his cell doors and lit them on fire with a smuggled lighter.
Nine people were transported to hospital with smoke inhalation after a fire broke out at the Barton Street jail Friday night.