Fire races through South Georgia jail - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fire races through South Georgia jail

 March 22, 2004

Fitzgerald-- Sunday night, all of the inmates at the Ben Hill County jail had to be transferred to various other South Georgia jails. Jailers and deputies are still trying to clean up the major smoke and heat damage caused by the fire. More than 100 inmates in the Ben Hill County jail had to be evacuated.

The walls inside the Ben Hill County jail used to be light gray, now they are charcoal black, the light fixtures are melted, and a thck layer of soot is covering almost every surface. "We got one man that's in the hospital. We took eight to the hospital all of them were released, except for the one, but he's going to be okay too," says Sheriff Thurman Ellis.

Ellis says inmate Derrick Young was isolated to this cell for being uncooperative with jailers, but when he got there he figured out another way to cause a disruption. "When the guy got in there he had taken toilet paper and rolled it up, set it fire and put it underneath the door."

Ellis says Young held the burning paper there until it ignited a stack of empty boxes and trash just outside his cell door. The flames were contained to the one hallway, but heavy smoke forced jailers to evacuate all 101 inmates. "They were able to get the inmates out, and change a very dangerous situation and keep it from escalating into a major tragedy."

All 18 trustees volunteered to help deputies and jailers clean up the mess that Ellis says now all inmates will pay for. "I hate to take something away from them when they behave themselves."

Of course this will change everything. Ben Hill, one of the few jails left in the state that allowed inmates to light up, is going smoke-free. Ellis says he expects Davis to be charged with arson and aggravated assault for endangering all the inmates.

He was orginally sentenced to nine months for minor traffic charges and crimal trespass, Ellis says he probably would have gotten out in half that time.


posted at 4:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Lee Co. Middle West students renovate exhibits at Chehaw

    Lee Co. Middle West students renovate exhibits at Chehaw

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 7:57 PM EDT2018-05-22 23:57:01 GMT
    Stem students at Lee County Middle School West worked with Chehaw Park renovating exhibits at the Reptile House. (Source: Parks at Chehaw)Stem students at Lee County Middle School West worked with Chehaw Park renovating exhibits at the Reptile House. (Source: Parks at Chehaw)
    Stem students at Lee County Middle School West worked with Chehaw Park renovating exhibits at the Reptile House. (Source: Parks at Chehaw)Stem students at Lee County Middle School West worked with Chehaw Park renovating exhibits at the Reptile House. (Source: Parks at Chehaw)

    Lee County Middle School West students put their hands to work renovating exhibits at the reptile house at Chehaw Park. 

    More >>

    Lee County Middle School West students put their hands to work renovating exhibits at the reptile house at Chehaw Park. 

    More >>
  • Lee Co. High School graduation moved to Albany Civic Center

    Lee Co. High School graduation moved to Albany Civic Center

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 5:58 PM EDT2018-05-22 21:58:05 GMT
    Albany Civic Center (Source: WALB)Albany Civic Center (Source: WALB)
    Albany Civic Center (Source: WALB)Albany Civic Center (Source: WALB)

    The graduation ceremony for Lee County High School has been moved to the Albany Civic Center. 

    More >>

    The graduation ceremony for Lee County High School has been moved to the Albany Civic Center. 

    More >>
  • Slots open now for Dougherty Co. pre-K summer program

    Slots open now for Dougherty Co. pre-K summer program

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 5:49 PM EDT2018-05-22 21:49:34 GMT
    Dougherty County pre-K leaders said it is accepting applications now for its pre-K Summer Transition Program. (Source: WALB)Dougherty County pre-K leaders said it is accepting applications now for its pre-K Summer Transition Program. (Source: WALB)
    Dougherty County Pre-K leaders said they are accepting applications now for their Pre-K Summer Transition Program. (Source: WALB)Dougherty County Pre-K leaders said they are accepting applications now for their Pre-K Summer Transition Program. (Source: WALB)

    Dougherty County school leaders said they're looking for children to attend their free pre-K enrichment program, and the time to apply is now.  

    More >>

    Dougherty County school leaders said they're looking for children to attend their free pre-K enrichment program, and the time to apply is now.  

    More >>
Powered by Frankly