Portales attorney files tort claim against county

Staff report

A Portales attorney has filed a notice of intent to sue Curry County, alleging five female inmates sustained injuries during a fire at the county’s Adult Detention Center last month.

Eric D. Dixon entered the tort claim with the Curry County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday.

“(On or about Feb. 10, 2016), a fire was started by an inmate of the Bravo Pod, Alpha housing unit by an inmate who was given a lighter by one of the jailers, despite the fact that she had a known propensity to start fires,” Dixon’s filing alleges. “Neither the smoke detectors or water sprinklers work in the unit. As a result, these female inmates were forced to breathe noxious fumes and gases, were uable to breathe and were otherwise injured in the fire.”

Dixon maintains there was no evacuation of the facility, one of the plaintiffs did not receive proper medical attention for at least 24 hours after the fire, each of the five inmates were denied proper medical care and suffered injuries as a result of breathing the air.

Additionally, in the tort claim Dixon referenced when female inmates are showering, male detention officers enter the area and are able to see the female inmates showering.

Contacted for comment with regard to the claim, Curry County Manager Lance Pyle offered the following response: “At this point these are only allegations and an investigation will occur. We are not able to comment any further as this is a threatened litigation.”