Rock County Jail Fire

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A dangerous situation is avoided Wednesday afternoon thanks to emergency preparation and training. Fire breaks out at the Rock County Jail and several maximum security inmates are evacuated.

A small fire breaks out in a vent above a jail cell and 45 maximum security prisoners had to be quickly evacuated.

"We immediately responded to the area and got the inmates moved off to a secure location out of the smoke zone," says Commander Barbara Barrington.

Escorting five inmates at a time, teams of corrections officers and sheriff's deputies moved prisoners into the jail's booking area. No one was hurt and the inmates were cooperative.

"We took a difficult situation and we were able to rely on training and make it a successful operation," says Barrington.

Jail officers undergo extensive training for these emergency situations. They learn to navigate through smoke filled rooms. They take self defense classes. They're trained on prisoner evacuations as well as handling emergency equipment.

"We took today as a learning experience. I’m really proud of officers and proud of the inmates as well," says Barrington.

Wednesday's procedures will be reviewed, but Barrington says she doesn't expect to recommend that her officers should’ve done anything different.

The fire broke out around 9:30 Wednesday morning. All the inmates were returned to their cells by noon. Barrington says the fire sparked during routine maintenance on the air vents.