For Immediate Release
August 31, 2000
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
OKEECHOBEE - Two correctional officers were injured after an inmate set fire to his cell early this morning at Okeechobee Correctional Institution, forcing the temporary evacuation of 60 inmates.
Correctional Sgt. Charles Wears suffered minor burns on his arms and officer James Thurston suffered smoke inhalation. Both officers were treated on the scene by prison medical staff and will return to work today.
The incident started at approximately 12:10 am in the left wing of E-dorm, which is a disciplinary confinement wing. Inmate Allan Scott (DC# 110864/DOB: 2-13-69) set fire to his bedding and clothing. Wears and Thurston saw the smoke coming from the cell. Risking serious injury, they entered the burning cell and removed Scott to a nearby shower stall. They put out the fire with fire extinguishers. By this time, smoke had spread to the rest of the wing, putting other inmates at risk of smoke inhalation. Additional staff arrived and began moving the inmates onto the prison recreation yard.
Staff cleared the smoke from the wing using fans. The inmates were returned to their cells about 3:00 am. It was not necessary to call the fire department or paramedics. Prison medical staff checked all the affected inmates and found no injuries, except for inmate Scott, who was treated at the scene for minor smoke inhalation.
Scott has been transferred to the Okeechobee County Jail, and the Department of Corrections will recommend to the State Attorney's Office that he be charged with first-degree arson. He is serving a life sentence for robbery with a deadly weapon in Brevard County and has a history of disciplinary problems while in prison.
Warden Jimmy Prevatt praised his staff for calmly and quickly controlling the situation. "The correctional officers made sure that no inmates were put in danger and evacuated them in an orderly fashion," he said. "All staff did an outstanding job in maintaining calm and order."
For further information on inmate Scott and DOC facilities, visit our website at www.dc.state.fl.us.