Fire erupts at Broward County main jail

Fire extinguished in laundry room of jail, authorities say

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Eric Yutzy - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A fire was reported Thursday morning at the Broward County Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale firefighters were battling a two-alarm fire about 10:50 a.m. at the jail, 555 SE First Ave.

A photo taken from the scene showed smoke coming out of the building.

It's unclear what sparked the fire, but Chief Timothy Heiser said the fire started in the laundry room on the first floor.

"The first unit that came in reported extremely heavy smoke coming from the south side of the building," Heiser said. "Due to the way that the building is constructed -- obviously it's a jail -- there's limited ways in and limited ways out, so what we did is we immediately transmitted the second alarm to get more firefighters here."

Heiser said about 40 firefighters were called to the jail, and crews were escorted by deputies as they searched each floor to make sure no one was trapped inside or injured.

Floors 1, 2, 4 and 7 were affected  by the smoke, but the fire has since been extinguished, Heiser said. 

Heiser said a fire marshal was at the scene to determine the exact location where the fire started and firefighters ventilated the building to clear the smoke.

Authorities said two people were treated at the scene and one person was taken to Broward Health Medical Center.

The Broward Sheriff's Office confirmed that the person taken to the hospital was a civilian contract employee. She is expected to be OK.

About 100 inmates were evacuated from the building at the time of the fire and taken by bus to the Paul Rein Detention Center in Pompano Beach.

Magistrate court has been canceled for the afternoon.

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