April 08, 2020

Fire forces evacuation of state prison inmates

THOMASTON — A smoky fire at the Maine State Prison forced evacuation of about 200 inmates Sunday afternoon.

Prison Warden Jeff Merrill said the fire was discovered at 2 p.m. when an elevator shaft filled with smoke. About 200 of the 400 inmates in the prison were evacuated into the gymnasium for an hour while the fire was located and extinguished.

It was determined that the fire started inside a cinder-block wall in the housing area. A small hole in a block was filled with paper and trash. It was speculated that someone disposed of a cigarette in the hole, starting a small fire.

No damage or injuries were reported from the fire,and inmates were returned to cells without further incident. The 200 inmates of the East Wing remained in the cells and were unaffected by the fire, said Merrill.

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