Inmate assaults correctional staff as fire burns in cell at Fort Madison facility

Prison bars (MGN)

FORT MADISON, Iowa — Correctional officers were assaulted by an inmate as they were responding to a fire.

The fire started in a living unit before noon Friday, January 11, at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa, according to a statement from the Iowa Department of Corrections.  Staff started evacuating inmates from the building into the yard and found out that one inmate had started a fire in his cell.  The inmate was using his mattress as a way to barricade himself inside.

As staff members tried to get the inmate out of the cell so they could put out the fire, “the inmate attempted to assault the responding correctional officers with closed-fist strikes,” read the statement.  It took pepper spray to subdue the inmate.

The fire was quickly put out after that.

Staff members who were involved with the inmate were treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries, said the department.  They were released to finish up their shifts.  The inmate suspected of starting the fire was taken to the hospital for treatment of a self-inflicted injury.

The facility was placed on restricted movement while smoke was cleared, but has since been resumed normal operations.