Inmates start fire at Gregg County Jail

Released by the Gregg County Sheriff's Office:

Around 12:39pm today Gregg County Jail Staff personnel responded to a report of smoke and fire on the 6th floor of the South jail facility. Six inmates were transferred from a dayroom to a secure area within the facility while the fire was extinguished. One responding Jail Deputy received medical treatment for smoke inhalation.

"We are in the initial phase of this investigation, however it appears that one or more of the inmates used pencil lead and electricity which generated a spark fire that ignited some papers contained in the dayroom trash can," Captain Mike Claxton said today.

"Our Jail staff responded rapidly, identified the location of the smoke and fire and evacuated the inmates responsible for the fire to safety," Claxton added.

A criminal investigation is being conducted by sheriff's investigators and the Gregg County Fire Marshal and staff.  Investigators are conducting interviews and have consulted with the Criminal District Attorney's Office.

None of the inmates were injured as a result of the fire. "It appears that all of our in-place life safety equipment functioned properly," Claxton added.