10.3.17 Guys Marsh Prison: Evacuation after fire is started 'by inmate on roof'


Investigation following fire at HMP Guys Marsh in Shaftesbury

About 60 inmates were evacuated after a "large fire" broke out the prison near Shaftesbury in Dorset.

It is understood a prisoner clambered on to the pitched roof of one of the house blocks at HMP Guys Marsh, took off his clothes and set fire to them.

The blaze is believed to have damaged the roof and inmates in the block were taken to a secure area.  The prisoner was brought down from the roof; the Prison Service said there was no risk to the public.

A total of 64 prisoners were evacuated from the affected area and were held in a secure zone within the prison overnight.  The inmate was treated by paramedics as a precautionary measure but not arrested.

A Prison Service spokesperson stated: Prison staff worked with the emergency services to successfully resolve an incident involving one prisoner at HMP Guys Marsh.

Dorset Police said all prisoners and staff were accounted for.

Superintendant Caroline Naughton stated that this was an isolated incident and an investigation is now under way to establish the exact cause of the fire.  These inquiries remain ongoing.

Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell stated: “Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service remained in attendance following the significant fire at Guys Marsh Prison.  At the height of the fire there were 21 fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms in use.  Fire fighters worked overnight in partnership with Dorset Police, the Prison Service,  South Western Ambulance Service and partner agencies to bring the fire to a successful conclusion. 

A joint investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.”

Story collated by Liz Turnbull.

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