FORT MADISON – A correctional officer was assaulted by an inmate at the Iowa State Penitentiary at approximately 11:52 a.m. Friday.
Staff were alerted to a fire alarm triggered in a living unit at the prison. As they began evacuating inmates from the building to the yard, they discovered that one inmate had started a fire in his cell, and had used his mattress to barricade himself inside. As a team of staff attempted to remove the inmate from the cell in order to extinguish the fire he had started, the inmate attempted to assault the responding correctional officers with closed-fist strikes. The staff utilized oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray to subdue the aggressive inmate, and then quickly extinguished the fire.
The staff that were involved with the aggressive inmate were evaluated and treated by institution medical staff for smoke inhalation and minor physical injuries, and were released to finish the remainder of their shifts. The inmate that is suspected to have started the fire has been taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to be treated for self-inflicted injury.
The institution was placed on restricted movement while the smoke was cleared from the living unit, but has since returned to normal operation.
This incident remains under investigation.