A fire that apparently started in a clothes dryer before 1 p.m. Thursday at the Johnson County Corrections Center forced inmates to be moved outside to secured holdings areas, Sheriff Bob Alford said.

All the inmates had been returned to their cells by 4 p.m., Alford said. There were no problems while the inmates were in outside holding areas, he said.

There was no estimate of damage, Alford said, but some locks were shorted out and they are being repaired, one dryer was destroyed, some food received water damage and the roof was set to be repaired during the late afternoon and evening.

“Detective [Steve] Shaw has just started his investigation,” Alford said.

Several Cleburne police officers and detectives responded to the fire scene to assist Johnson County sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers in guarding inmates in the recreation yard.

Cleburne Fire Marshal Bill Wright said once the fire got going it moved up through the dryer vent pipes into an attic area.

“This isn’t like an attic area in a home, where you can access the fire by tearing down the ceiling. This is a secured facility and firefighters had to access the fire through steel and concrete,” Wright said.

The sheriff said he appreciated the quick response by Cleburne fire and police and he said he was pleased with how quickly the correctional staff evacuated inmates. “They did a good job,” Alford said.

A 10-foot by 10-foot area of a rubber-coated roof was heavily damaged by the fire and heat, Wright said.

The laundry area is behind the kitchen and receiving area on the north part of the corrections center.

Three Cleburne fire trucks, an ambulance and more than a dozen firefighters responded. There were no injuries reported.

Rob Fraser can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2336, or rfraser@trcle.com

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