Windows were smashed and two fires were set as a revolt took place Wednesday afternoon at the Burnside jail in Dartmouth.
Sherri Aikenhead of the Justice Department said 59 prisoners in the north section of the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility refused to return to their cells at 1:30 p.m. and it led to “a major disturbance.”
She said there was extensive property damage, including windows being smashed, flooding and two fires set that led to one inmate being treated on scene for smoke inhalation. Some inmates apparently even brandished pieces of smashed glass, although there were no further injuries.
One small fire was set in a trash can and a second larger one in the common room area on a bookshelf.
Aikenhead said that by later in the afternoon jail guards were able to get most of the inmates back in lockdown. However one cell block with fewer than 10 prisoners refused to return to their cells and had to be escorted individually to different cells around 7 p.m.
Aikenhead said prisoners were first put in lockdown on Tuesday night. An investigation is now taking place to determine what caused Wednesday’s disturbance.
“All it takes is one inmate to get something like this started,” Aikenhead said to reporters a few hundred meters from the jail.
Halifax police and fire and ambulance officials were all at the scene yesterday.
Aikenhead said police were brought into the facility, but never had to assist.
Brian Fleckney, acting platoon chief with the Halifax Regional Fire Service, said they were called to the scene just after 4 p.m. and had two crews inside the jail ventilating the building. They left around 8 p.m.
“The sprinkler system contained the fires,” he said.
Aikenhead felt the situation was contained Wednesday night, but that the prisoners were to remain in lockdown until at least Thursday morning.