Fire Marshal's report details damage at Boyle County prison

A State Fire Marshal investigator found broken doors, leaning walls, demolished exit signs and plumbing fixtures ripped from the walls of dormitories after prisoners rioted and burned much of Northpoint Training Center on Aug. 21.

Although several buildings at the medium-security prison in Boyle County were total losses, Deputy Fire Marshall Mike Burke concluded that the prison's six dorms could be re-inhabited once plumbing and electrical issues were fixed, fire alarms were working and structural engineers had done inspections.

About 500 of the prison's 1,200 inmates are now living in two dorms. The other 700 prisoners were taken to other prisons in the state.

Burke's report on the incident was obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday under the state's open records law.

Burke was on the scene at Northpoint by 9:30 p.m. on the 21st, and he stayed through the night as local and state firefighters battled the blaze, according to his report.

At one point, Burke noted, a door to a dorm TV room had been kicked in, and the bricks surrounding the frame were cracked and spread apart.

Incidents that led up to the riot and fire are still under investigation by the state Department of Corrections and State Police, said Justice Cabinet spokeswoman Jennifer Brislin. Sixteen inmates and guards received minor injuries during the riot and fires.

The kitchen, which sustained some of the worst damage, was the lone building at the prison equipped with a sprinkler system. It was the only one required to have one under Kentucky building code because of the presence of open flames, Brislin said.

There are no immediate plans to retrofit the state's other prisons with sprinklers, she said.

Burke's report noted that firefighters were worried about propane tanks near the kitchen, but they concluded that the tanks were far enough away from the fire to avoid an explosion.

Brislin said that all of the prison's weekly inspection sheets of fire detection, sprinkler and alarm systems were destroyed in the fire.

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