Inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary started a fire Monday afternoon, but staff were able to quickly extinguish the flames.
Department of Corrections officials say the fire was started in a trash can around 3:15. The inmates involved had blocked staff members by tying doors to the gallery closed.
The fire was only in a trash can in one gallery in a housing unit, but inmates tossed bedding, clothing and other items into the fire, causing it to spill outside the container. The department said it does not appear there was any fire damage to the unit, but there could be water damage. The State Fire Marshal has been notified.
As per procedure, the entire facility was locked down to prevent all movement.
The prison's corrections emergency response team entered the gallery about 20 minutes after the fire started and put out the fire. They then secured inmates in either their cells or in the day room and use of force was not necessary, with inmates complying with staff instructions.
Warden Michele Capps says no injuries to staff or inmates was reported. “The NSP team responded quickly and efficiently. They are trained to respond to situations like this. I am proud of the work they did today and every day to keep people safe.”
Staff is working to return the rest of the facility to normal operations as soon as possible.