Indiana Jail Fire Sends Officials Scrambling


A clothes dryer caught fire in the basement of the Madison County Jail around 10:45 a.m. Saturday, firefighters said, forcing jailers to move inmates to other parts of the building.

The fire sent heavy smoke throughout the jail at 720 Central Ave. in Anderson. Deputies called in extra law enforcement to help secure the areas surrounding the jail,

6News' Myrt Price


Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson said the Madison County 911 dispatch center is also located inside the jail, so when the fire broke out, the dispatchers had to be evacuated.

"Smoke started filling the building. It was in the vent system, where all the heat from the dryer would go where the dryer vents out through a pipe," Richardson said.

Maintenance crews brought in large fans, in order to ventilate the building. Firefighters were able to quickly put out the fire, but the lingering smoke created a health hazard.

Richardson said authorities ran air quality tests to ensure the safety of the inmates. More than 200 people were being housed in the jail, so SWAT teams had to be called in to help secure the facility. Inmates were then moved to areas of the jail, less effected by the smoke.

"They just went through our evacuation plan last week and it's something we do on a routine basis," Richardson said.

Roxanne Brown came to the jail Saturday to visit her fiancé. "I was very scared, we just want to make sure everyone is safe," Brown said.

Brown said no one was answering the phones and none of the police on the scene would tell her anything. However, after a few minutes she found out that her fiancé, the rest of the inmates and the jail staff were safe.

The sheriff says no one was injured but one inmate started trouble and had to be separated from the others.

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