ATTICA, N.Y. — On Monday, an inmate in a special housing unit at the Attica Correctional Facility set his cell on fire and fought officers who tried to put the fire out and get him out. This incident put seven people, six guard and one sergeant, in the hospital.
According to the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, the 36-year-old inmate was in a special housing unit for disciplinary measures when he became irate on Monday and started threatening to set his cell on fire. The inmate tried to get officers to fight him and then began to set his sheets, clothes and mattress on fire.
The inmate allegedly ignored orders issued by officers and barricaded himself in the cell with the burning mattress. An officer tried to extinguish the fire, but was unable to.
Officers entered the cell and the inmate fought the officers who were trying to remove him for his own safety. Officers were eventually able to get the inmate into handcuffs and were then able to remove him from the cell.
Once everyone was out the fire was able to be extinguished.
Six officers and one sergeant were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation that consisted of burning sensation to throats, lungs and chests. One officer needed five stitches to close a cut under his left eye. The other officers and the sergeant suffered from scrapes, swelling and pain to their wrists and back.
The officers and sergeant did not return to duty.
The inmate was taken to the infirmary to get checkout by medical staff. He is serving a seven to 15 year sentence for three counts of third degree burglary and one count of third degree attempted burglary.
“This inmate clearly had intentions of hurting staff regardless of the fact he was already in a special housing unit for unrelated disciplinary measures. He attempted to bait the officers into coming into the cell so he could attack them and set his cell on fire so they had no choice but to enter his cell to extract him for his own safety," said Kenny Gold, NYSCOPBA Western Region vice president, in a release.
"These are the daily situations our members have to face, the ones that our elected officials fail to recognize as they continue to push watered down discipline like HALT. The current disciplinary system in its form, fails to keep staff safe. Assaults on staff are at record levels and will only get worse when HALT is implemented. All this serves is to make their jobs more difficult and undermine morale, which is already at an all-time low."