After more than a week away, about 1,500 prisoners evacuated because of a tire fire will return to an Avoyelles Parish prison.
According to a release, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections will return 1,500 evacuated prisoners to Raymond Laborde Correctional Center (RLCC) Friday and Saturday.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal's Office has advised the DOC that the fire at a shuttered tire recycling plant adjacent to the prison is extinguished and Particulate Matter (PM) levels have fallen below any threat to human health at the Cottonport, Louisiana, prison.
The tire fire started on Sunday, January 16, but did not impact the prison. The DOC safely evacuated RLCC's prisoners to other state prisons on Thursday, January 20, when winds shifted from the north and began blowing smoke toward the prison.
Staff and buses from RLCC and other state prisons will be used to return prisoners. State Probation and Parole officers will provide additional support and security in regards to returning the evacuated prisoners.
In addition to existing COVID mask mandates in place for Department of Corrections employees, all prisoner evacuees are required to wear masks at all times during the bus transport for their protection against the virus.