Burning love: Inmates light second fire in eight days

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 6 March 2018, 10:06AM
The fires were set by two inmates out at the women's prison in Wiri, South Auckland around 9.30 last night.(Photo / File)
The fires were set by two inmates out at the women's prison in Wiri, South Auckland around 9.30 last night.(Photo / File)

Fire crews were called to Auckland women's prison for the second time in eight days to douse fires set by two lovelorn inmates.

Fire crews were called to Wiri Women's Corrections Facility in South Auckland about 9.30 last night after reports a small fire had broken out on prison grounds.

The Department of Corrections' Regional Commissioner Jeanette Burns said two prisoners had started two separate fires, which staff had extinguished.

"At no time was there any threat to people's safety, due to the quick actions of staff," she said.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand northern communications shift manager Colin Underdown said no one was injured in the fires.

The two prisoners involved were the same inmates who Burns said caused "unrest" last week.

Specialist riot control teams were called on Monday night last week, after the first episode in the pair's fight to cohabitate.

"Two prisoners who were in an intimate relationship, and who wanted to be placed in a unit together, have been at the centre of the unrest," Burns said.

"[They] had made it clear they would create as much disruption as possible until they got their way."

Burns told the Herald last week the prisoners remained in separate units.

Heightened tensions at the prison also resulted in a transgender prisoner being transferred from the women's prison back to a men's prison.

The prisoner had identified as female and been approved to be placed in a women's prison since 2016.

Burns said the prisoner had been smashing windows and inciting violence in other prisoners.

The commissioner said last night's fire had been referred to police and a full review would be undertaken.

"The prisoners who started the fires will be held to account for their actions," she said.

 

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