The incident happened New Year’s weekend between Saturday night and Sunday morning. WREG was told the fire turned on the building’s sprinkler system, which quickly knocked down the fire.
Velicia Brown lives near Wilder Youth Development, and she says she is concerned every time she hears about problems at the center.
“All I can say is these kids are really out of control,” she said. “This generation is really out of control.”
Wilder, which houses violent juvenile offenders, has been in the news after several reports of escapes, attempted escaped, and riots at the facility north of Somerville.
Sources say they are unaware of any injuries from the incident and did not know how much fire damage was done to the facility’s school. However, signs were displayed to alert the public of job openings at Wilder.
Brown says this is a sign that things could be improving.
“We actually need people that’s actually going to put their foot down and actually help them and motivate these kids to do better, and that way they won’t be there anymore,” she said.
We reached out to DCS but were told State offices were closed for a holiday. A spokesperson with the Tennessee Highway Patrol would only acknowledge that they received a call for assistance from Wilder.