The Santa Barbara County Main Jail is on lockdown this morning, following a major disturbance.
It started just before 4 p.m. yesterday, when smoke alarms went off in a housing area of the jail complex. A large trash can had been filled by inmates with combustible materials like bedding, clothing, and paper materials, and set on fire.
Jail staff members were able to put out the fire, but there was heavy smoke, so evacuation of part of the jail was started. However, about two dozen inmates barricaded themselves in their cells, and refused to leave.
Santa Barbara County firefighters arriving at the jail to deal with the fire were greeted by barricaded inmates who yelled, and threw debris at them.
The Sheriff’s Department sent in a special operations team which had to use tear gas to remove the barricaded inmates. They also had to break up two fights which broke out between inmates being evacuated. One inmate had to be taken to the hospital for a head injury.