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Inmate Starts Small Jail Fire, Johnston Co. Authorities Say

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Johnston County Jail Fire Map
SMITHFIELD, N.C. — Authorities said an inmate started a small fire at the Johnston County Jail Saturday night.

The fire broke out on the top floor of the facility, which is located on Second Street, at about 9 p.m., when an inmate lodged a piece of cloth in a window sill and set it on fire with either matches or a lighter, according to Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell.

The fire was contained and quickly put out. There were no reports of any injuries.

Bizzell called in 17 sheriff's deputies to the jail to conduct what he called a "shakedown," which involved searching every cell and every inmate. Currently, there are about 235 inmates being held at the jail.

Authorities are still trying to determine who is responsible for the fire. When they do, Bizell said, the inmate will be charged with damage to county property.

Last week, inmates attempted to start a fire in a window 30 feet below the window where Saturday's fire occurred. Bizzell said there is very visible damage to both windows.


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