Over 30 EMS treated inmates on scene during Lee prison riots

Lee Correctional Institution (WCIV)

The Lee Correctional Institution riots on Sunday evening left seven dead and more than 17 injured. It was a medical emergency not typical in Lee County.

Lee County EMS was on scene for more than seven hours treating injuries including stab wounds, cuts and bruises. Jim Dubose, EMS director, said calls to the prison don't happen often.

"This was the worst one I've had to deal with in my career," said Dubose. "As we got there, we were told there were going to be several inmates."

He said they did not expect a mass casualty situation, which required them to call on more than 30 EMS personnel. Because of the rioting, Dubose said their team could not render aid for several hours.

"We're limited in what we can do at a secured prison facility," Dubose said. "They have their policies and we can't go in until it's safe."

Fritz Smith runs BoSmith Furniture, which is located right next door to the prison. Sunday's riots hit close to home.

"My wife works EMS and we were on the way home from church when one of the EMS head guys called her and said, 'Hey, can you come in? We need help'," Smith said.

He said he's not bothered by the prison and rarely hears anything about it unless an escaped inmate makes the news.

"I drive by every day," said Smith. "When people get out, helicopters go crazy, SLED comes blowing by, we easily know when somebody gets out and that's only been a few times in the last 20 years."

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