HUNTSVILLE, Texas (Nexstar) — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice will transfer about 400 inmates to facilities across Texas after a major fire damaged an historic Huntsville prison early Friday morning.
TDCJ evacuated more than 650 inmates from the Walls Unit after an attic fire broke out, damaging the west side of its cellblocks and some administrative areas just before 2:30 a.m. Friday. The Walls Unit holds about 1,600 inmates, according to officials.
“They’re still here. They’re in a secure location inside of this facility. And if they need to be transferred throughout the state, we are prepared to do so. All staff are safe as well,” TDCJ’s Amanda Hernandez said Friday.
Hernandez later confirmed TDCJ will complete the transfer of about 400 inmates by the end of Friday.
Families of those incarcerated had difficulty learning updates regarding their loved ones throughout the day. TDCJ has cancelled visitation at the unit.
“I couldn’t believe it. It took a while for it to sink in. Because you know, who would expect a fire?,” said Daisy Mejia, whose husband is incarcerated in Huntsville’s Walls Unit. “I think my worry is getting worse. Just trying to hang in there and just wait for an update is what I’m doing.”
Family members can find where their relocated relatives are currently using TDCJ’s inmate search online.