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Old 04-07-2005, 07:05 AM
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Default Nearly 400 Santiam prison inmates are evacuated after small lint fire


Nearly 400 Santiam prison inmates are evacuated after small lint fire

-- Cara Roberts Murez

April 7, 2005
A small lint fire in an air duct apparently caused by discarded cigarettes forced almost 400 inmates at the Santiam Correctional Institution to be evacuated Wednesday morning, officials said.

Salem firefighters responded about 9:20 a.m. to the minimum-security prison on Aumsville Highway SE. They discovered light smoke in the attic of the main building, traced it to a heating/ventilation duct in the basement and put out the fire.

Salem fire officials sent 14 firefighters to the scene. In addition to the 396 inmates, 46 staff members and visitors were evacuated to the yard, which is bordered by a security fence, prison spokeswoman Perrin Damon said.

Cigarettes are banned in the prison. Damon said that inmates probably had access to the vents and discarded the cigarettes. That incident was under investigation.
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