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Santa Barbara County Jail Locked Down After Fire, Inmate Disturbance

Officials say barricaded prisoners threw debris at firefighters battling blaze believed to have been started by inmates

The Santa Barbara County Jail remained on lockdown Sunday night, several hours after a fire broke out that officials believe was started by inmates, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Smoke alarms sounded shortly before 4 p.m. at the jail, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, and custody staff discovered a large trash can on fire in an inmate housing area.

“Custody staff quickly doused the fire; however, a significant amount of smoke had already filled the area,” Hoover said. “Custody staff began to evacuate inmates from the affected area to other parts of the jail.”

Some 25 inmates in the affected housing area barricaded themselves in their cells, and failed to respond to evacuation commands, Hoover said.

The fire rekindled, and firefighters already on scene entered the jail to extinguish the flames, she said.

“The barricaded inmates yelled and threw debris at the firefighters while they worked,” Hoover said.

A sheriff’s special-operations team was sent into the jail to restore order and complete the evacuation, said Hoover, adding that during the evacuation, two fights broke out, which resulted in minor injuries.

Chemical agents were deployed to restore order, Hoover said, and one inmate ultimately was sent to the hospital for evaluation of a head injury.

The jail was placed on lockdown while the incident was investigated.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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