Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay corrections officer sent to hospital after hostage incident

A Thunder Bay District Jail staff member was hospitalized Monday after an incident at the facility, according to the president of the union which represents the correctional officers.

Ministry says officer was released after successful negotiations

Michael Lundy, president of the union which represents correctional officers at the jail, said staff were "shaken up" by Monday night's incident. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

A Thunder Bay District Jail staff member was hospitalized Monday after a hostage incident at the facility, according to the Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections.

Numerous police officers, fire trucks and paramedics gathered at the scene around 8 p.m on Monday night.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections said the incident was contained within the jail, and that crisis intervention staff and procedures had been activated to help resolve the incident.

"We can confirm that a correctional officer was taken hostage, and as a result of successful negotiations the officer is en route to the hospital for assessment," said ministry spokesperson Greg Flood. "Our thoughts are with the officer, his family, friends and colleagues at this time."

The specific injuries or their extent wasn't immediately clear, but the president of the local which represents correctional officers said multiple inmates were involved. 

"One of our staff members was injured tonight, and he's being taken to hospital by paramedics," said Michael Lundy, OPSEU Local 737 president. "He's safe, though."

"Staff members are very shaken up ... I don't know if we'll ever be able to recover as a staff," Lundy added.

Thunder Bay Police released a statement before the ministry confirmed it was a hostage taking to assure the general public there was no safety threat.

"There have been no escapes of prisoners in connection with this incident. The incident is limited to the jail itself," said Chris Adams, executive officer from the service.

Police blocked off MacDougall Street, but allowed employees at the district jail to drive through into the main parking lot. Many of the people driving through the barricades were wearing corrections shoulder badges.

Lundy said the incident should underscore to the ministry the seriousness of working conditions, as correctional officers are currently negotiating with the province over a new collective bargaining agreement.

"This isn't a bargaining thing, he said. "But these are the situations we've warned them were going to happen. It has nothing to do with money, it has to do with people's lives, and they're messing with them."

There was no immediate word about possible charges in connection with the incident.