As first reported by Island Echo, a blaze ripped through two floors of Alpha Wing at Albany prison resulting in a major incident being declared by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust. In total 7 appliances and an aerial appliance from the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service and 8 ambulances attended the scene off Parkhurst Road.
Island Echo can reveal that at least two prison vans yesterday (Thursday) transported inmates from the Albany site in Newport to the mainland due to a shortage in available prisoner cells. The top floor of the wing is said to be gutted, however the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) say the damage to the prison is still being assessed.
According to sources, prisoners are said to be ‘traumatised’ and ‘very angry’ at the situation. At least 11 people were treated for smoke inhalation, 2 suffering severely. All were discharged the same night.
The MoJ say they are still investigating the cause of the blaze, however Island Echo understands a prisoner – who is rumoured to have been refused parole – is responsible for starting the fire, which was isolated to just one location.
Answers have not yet been given to claims a prisoner had a weapon, namely a makeshift shank, and whether or not this delayed the firefighting operation and getting medical care to prisoners.
Many questions are yet to be answered about how the fire started, what action is to be taken against the fire-starter and specific details relating to damage.
HMP Isle of Wight houses Category B male adult inmates, the majority of which have been convicted of sexual offences.