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Affray at HCCC Contained After Inmates Start Fire

September 8, 2020, 6:40 PM HST
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Authorities have contained an incident at Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center where inmates started a fire and barricaded doors on one of the units Tuesday afternoon.

The unrest was reported at 3:45 p.m. involving inmates in the A-Wing of the Wainuenue housing model of the Kulani Correctional Facility. Hawai‘i Police and State Sheriffs were called to assist. Emergency response teams made up of correctional officers, with the assistance of Hawai‘i Police and Sheriffs responded.

“Sometime earlier there was an affray leading to rioting at the facility including the setting of fire to a housing unit,” according to a press release from HPD. “It has not yet been determined the cause of the brawl at the facility and it was not determined how much damage has been done.”

The situation was contained and order was brought back to the housing unit at approximately 5:30 p.m. Non-lethal force was used to subdue inmates and gain compliance. State Personnel are evacuating inmates from the facility so that an assessment can take place to determine the extent of the damage to the facility.

HPD assisted State Corrections officers in establishing a perimeter around the facility shutting down Wainuenue Avenue and parts of Komohana Street. The roads have reopened.

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Inmates and correctional staff are receiving a full medical evaluation.

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“There were some reported injures to inmates from the affray, and corrections officers suffered smoke inhalation and respiratory issues from the incident,” HPD reported. “There are no major injuries being reported at this time.”

The PSD Institutions Division Administrator is on his way to Hilo to assess the situation at the facility. Damage to the housing unit is being assessed at this time.

“All the credit goes to the HCCC Warden and his staff for acting swiftly to mobilize their emergency response team and to bring order back to the facility,” said Maria Cook, Deputy Director for Administration. “We would also like to acknowledge the Kulani warden, and her staff, as well as the State Sheriffs, Hawaii Fire Department and Hawaii Police Department for their assistance.”

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Investigations are underway by both Hawai‘i Police and the Department of Public Safety. There are 25 inmates in that housing wing who will all be questioned to determine what prompted the unrest and who was directly involved. Inmates found culpable will be criminally and administratively charged.

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