Inmates Set Fire To Temporary Jail

A weekend fire inside of the Hancock County Sheriff's Department's only holding facility has forced the temporary jail to close. The state fire marshal's office ordered the shutd down until the jail is outfitted with fire safety devices.

Sheriff's officials say two inmates were being housed in the eight man facility when the fire started. They have been charged with starting the fire by burning the electrical cord that powers the heat and air conditioning units.

"They were actually confined to this unit. They set a fire inside. It's very serious. We're just lucky we didn't have two fatalities here. I really don't understand the motive of it. It's not real smart when you're locked in a building and you set it on fire," Hancock County Sheriff Steve Garber said.

Sheriff Garber says after the fire began, the inmates began screaming and banging on the door. A jailer heard them, got them out, then extinguished the fire.

The incident has renewed calls for a new modern Hancock County Jail to replace the one destroyed by Katrina.