No injuries in jail fire

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 8, 1999

Adams County Sheriff deputies are investigating how a 14-year-old juvenile managed to set fire to his mattress Sunday morning.

Jailers discovered the fire inside the State Street facility around 10 a.m. shortly interrupting the inmates’ weekly visitation day.

&uot;There was nothing to it,&uot; said Sheriff Tommy Ferrell. &uot;All it was was a mattress fire.&uot;

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No one was injured in the incident that Ferrell said happens &uot;fairly often.&uot; He said inmates try to destroy things in the jail fairly routinely.

&uot;I have this happen all the time,&uot; he said. &uot;They just do it to create a nuisance.&uot;

The male juvenile, who Ferrell said was being held on charges that he stole a car and had been incarcerated for about a week, was alone in his cell when the fire started.

&uot;We’re investigating to see how he may have had a fire device,&uot; he said.

Ferrell said he planned to sign charges against the juvenile for destruction of county property.

Inmates, even adult ones, are not allowed to have lighters, matches or tobaccos products, Ferrell said.

Ferrell said juvenile inmates are supposed to be searched each time they return to the jail from court appearances or visitation.

Four fire trucks from the Natchez Fire Department responded to the call and Ferrell said it was three too many.

&uot;It was just total over reaction by everybody,&uot; he said adding that deputies asked for only one fire truck since it was a minor fire.

Natchez Fire Chief Gary Winborne said the department responding according to its standard operating procedure.

&uot;When they call and say `there’s a fire in the jail,’ it’s standard to send everything you might need,&uot; Winborne said. &uot;The main problem with the jail is ventilation, and we were worried about smoke inhalation.&uot;

Paramedics who responded checked out inmates exposed to smoke and found that none were injured.

Ferrell said the jail was designed to be fairly fire proof.

&uot;It’s all cement and steel,&uot; he said, adding the mattresses are fire resistant. &uot;It used to be that one kid could start a fire and kill a bunch of people, but the way this jail is constructed that can’t happen.&uot;