Inmate frees other prisoners, sets fire in French detention center

Gendarmerie late Monday wrested control of a prison wing where inmates freed by one of their number set a fire and rioted, French officials said, reports CNN.

An inmate on the second floor hours earlier grabbed a set of keys and unlocked cells, said a spokeswoman for the facility in western France.

The official, who did not give her name, said the 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ET) incident occurred at a Poitiers-Vivonne detention center building.

"The prisoners are in control of the wing [of the prison]. We still can't control the fire they set off, they are breaking everything and basically are running that part of the building," the official had said earlier, adding there were scores of inmates in the area.

Smoke poured from the building and was visible for miles.

Firefighters later moved inmates into a separate building and put the instigators in custody, the Justice Ministry said. Police had cleared the second floor by 8:30 p.m. No staff members were injured and no inmates were hospitalized.

Fo Penitentiaire operates France's prisons and is referred to as a union.
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