On August 6, at 2:12 p.m., a fire broke out in the Special Management Unit (SMU) South of the MetroWest Detention Center, one of the county's jails located in the marshy swamplands of west Miami-Dade. The SMU is an extra-secure wing in the jail that holds security-risk inmates: They may be in danger of attack, like jailed police officers, or they may be prone to escape or violence. The unit also holds a lot of "keep-separates," inmates who are not allowed to mix with other inmates because of known animosity. Apparently an inmate set his cell on fire and smoke poured into the common area, forcing panicked officers to coordinate a dangerous exchange: Hard-core inmates had to be moved out quickly and securely while a team of firefighters had to be moved in just as fast. Many officers worried that the fire might be a setup for an attack on a guard or inmate. Corrections officers battled the fire themselves until county firefighters arrived on the scene.By the time the blaze was under control fifteen corrections officers had been rushed to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where they were treated for smoke inhalation. Four stayed overnight. Inmate Jeffrey Flanders, awaiting trial on murder and cocaine possession charges, was arrested and charged with two... More >>>
Lois Spears of the corrections department: "It wasn't anything that unusual"