Prison in American Samoa Burns
Oct. 10, 1999
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) _ More than 15 inmates escaped as rioting prisoners burned the Territorial Correctional Facility's four cellblock buildings to the ground.
All but four of the escapees returned on their own later in the day Saturday, police said. One of those still being sought was serving time for murder, they said.
A firefighter and a police officer were treated for smoke inhalation as order was restored to the prison that houses 110 inmates. No other injuries were reported.
The riot was touched off by the enforcement of a policy barring visits by the inmates' minor children.
Trouble developed when the wives of inmates and their children arrived for a noon visitation. Correctional officers blocked the gate, and inmates in the prison yard saw the confrontation.
Inmates and their families were reportedly particularly upset because Sunday is White Sunday, a religious territorial holiday dedicated to children.
American Samoa is a U.S. territory, located 2,300 miles southwest of Hawaii.