A fight between rival gang leaders led to a riot that caused massive property damage but no serious injuries ata Massachusetts maximum security prison Monday.

It took correctional officers more than three hours to regain control of a 46-prisoner unit at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, a prison about 40 miles northwest of Boston, state police said.

After afight broke out between high-ranking gang leaders, other prisoners began scuffling and inmates refused to return to their cells,police said.

"The decision was made to pull the staff from the housing unit for their safety," police said in a statement.


Once correctional officers were gone, inmates began destroying the housing unit, officials said, causing massive destruction as they ripped off sprinkler heads,camera systems, and a computer system in the unit.

Using fire extinguishers and other makeshift weapons, inmates smashed windows and destroyed furnishings, according to police.

Correctional officers regained control of the unit by deploying a "chemical agent" around 7 p.m., they said.

Inmateswere searched for weapons and examined by medical staff following the disturbance. Officers found makeshift knives and other crudely-constructed weapons.

There were no serious injuries to staff or inmates.

Prisoners will be housed in other units until an investigation is completed.

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