Saginaw, MI – Sprinkler system activated for dryer fire at county jail

All inmates have returned to the Saginaw County Jail after some displaced following a fire in a commercial dryer.

The fire happened on Friday, March 29 at around 8:30 a.m.

Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel said that the fire was caused by a clogged vent in a commercial dryer located in the jail’s basement.

Federspiel said around 100-150 people, a mix of workers and inmates, had to move to higher levels of the jail.

“In the process we had to evacuate the women’s dorm, we had to evacuate some other prisoners to higher levels where there wasn’t any smoke,” said Federspiel.

Five STARS buses were called to the scene and officials moved some non-violent inmates to another, undisclosed location, as part of their emergency plan.

“Anytime you have people out of their cells it’s a dangerous situation for us. So, we just want to let the public know we’re making sure that the inmates and my staff are safe. But we’re also making sure the public is safe. So, we’ve had these plans in place for such an event and we’ve never had to use them, but now we’re putting it into action,” explained Federspiel.

On Monday, April 1, officials confirmed that all inmates had been moved back to their regular housing.

Saginaw County Undersheriff Mike Gomez also said that most operations have resumed as normal. The exception being laundry, which is being sent out.

The Saginaw Fire Department said the sprinkler system helped contain the fire and it was put out quickly with help from foam extinguishers.

“We’ve come for small trash can fires, toilet paper fires, but this is the first incident that, or major incident, that I’ve had at the jail. So, it’s a very rare event,” said Saginaw Fire Department Battalion Chief Tom Raines.

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