ISP inmate burned after starting fire in cell

November 17, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – A convicted child molester suffered severe burns after starting a fire in his cell at the Indiana State Prison on Wednesday, according to prison officials.

Fire alarms went off in the A Cell House at 8:27 p.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the Indiana Department of Correction.

When staff responded, they found a fire burning inside the cell of 34-year-old Ryan M. Nieves, IDOC spokeswoman Pamela James said in the statement.

The fire was “intentionally started by Nieves – evidenced by video cameras in the cell house,” James said.

IDOC’s Division of Investigations and Intelligence, and Indiana State Police are investigating.

James said offenders generally start fires by “sparking outlets within their cells, but in this case, the cause is still under investigation.”

She said Nieves suffered “first-, second- and third-degree degree burns, mainly to the upper torso.”

“Staff responded quickly, by using a fire extinguisher which is available on all ranges and immediately responded to the cell, put out the fire and got offender Nieves immediate medical attention,” ISP Warden Ron Neal said. “The quick response of the staff on the unit certainly saved the life of offender Nieves.”

Whether or not the fire was a suicide attempt is part of the investigation, James said.

Nieves was a Princeton resident who is serving 180 years after being convicted of nine counts of child molesting in Gibson County for molesting three girls under the age of 14. He was sentenced in November 2014.

Nieves, whose earliest possible release date in in July 2070, is being held in a General Population Unit in a single-man cell, James said. No foul play is suspected.

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