NewsCovering Louisiana


911 reports of a prison fire, jail supervisors ask for police not to come

Posted at 8:48 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 21:48:44-05

ST, Gabriel — Prison supervisors in St. Gabriel asked police not to show up to help extinguish a prison fire at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center two weeks ago.

Our media partners at WBRZ, their investigative unit, learned of this alleged cover-up from the public.

They say sources said the fire was started by an inmate. Now, there is no internal record that the fire even happened.

What is even more mysterious, according to the article, the East Iberville Fire Cheif Bill Massey said there was no fire in phone call to the WBRZ Investigative Unit and to St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin Ambeau.

WBRZ provided the 911 call:

OPERATOR: 911 what is your emergency?

DISPATCH AT ELAYN HUNT: Yes ma'am, we need the fire dept. at Elayn Hunt Correctional, I called the number 642-9980 and they told us if we needed the fire department we had to call 911 cause they're closed.

OPERATOR: Ok what's going on there?

ELAYN HUNT: Um, it's a fire on the firing range, the address is 692 Hwy. 74 St. Gabriel, Louisiana.

Shockingly, in the 911 calls, the worker at Elayn Hunt said her supervisors did not want the police to come. Ambeau said his department responds to more than 90 percent of the fire calls in St. Gabriel.

OPERATOR: I just needed a name for my records here. The fire department already dispatched and someone will and will get uh…do you guys want PD to go out?

ELAYN HUNT: (Away from the phone) She say you want PD too or just the fire department? Let me get my supervisor on the line, one second.


ELAYN HUNT: (Away from phone) The police department. (To the operator): Just the fire department my supervisor said.

Ambeau said he also contacted East Iberville Fire Chief Bill Massey who told him there was no fire.

"He did not tell the truth," Ambeau said. "He flat-out lied."

Massey also told the WBRZ Investigative Unit there was no fire. But his story changed when he learned we had the 911 calls, saying he was informed of the fire the night it happened by his deputy chief.

The fire is the latest issue at the prison over the past month. The WBRZ Investigative Unit showed you the big drug drop that occurred at the facility. In all, more than seven pounds of marijuana, crystal meth, and other drugs were discovered along with multiple cell phones. That contraband was not turned over to law enforcement in Iberville Parish.

Ambeau said he knows why he wasn't called about the fire. He said it's because he won't participate in any funny business and is concerned about what's going on.

"I took an oath to uphold and protect and serve and uphold the laws in the city, parish and state," Ambeau said. "I'm going to tell the truth."

The Department of Corrections issued the following statement about the fire:

On occasion, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center will burn debris such as trees, limbs, and pallets. On November 14, 2021, the prison burned a large pile of wood from Hurricane Ida. After receiving a call from a passerby, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center phoned the Iberville Fire Department, who came out and extinguished the fire. At no time was the prison, its population or the community at risk, as the area that is used to burn debris is far from any vegetation and buildings, and is monitored by staff.

Our sources said the prison does not burn trash outside, and they would like to see the fire marshal investigate.

Here's WBRZ's full report.

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