HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KIAH) — The prison unit in Huntsville caught fire overnight and still burns this morning as fire crews work diligently to put the fire out.

CW39’s Kara Willis and Seth Kovar are bringing us LIVE updates throughout the morning. We talked with the fire chief there in Huntsville LIVE on air for more.

“The Walls” unit caught fire about 2:30 a.m. Friday morning. That’s when heavy smoke was first reported. When workers noticed the fire, they began evacuations. Crews arrives to find heavy fire coming from one unit. Units have knocked out the main body of fire.

All inmates have been evacuated from the area to another facility and are accounted for. No word on where the main fire started at. As it is a state facility, the fire marshal is on scene still investigating. On scene, fire coming from an old tower can be seen.

This is pretty significant so it will take some time.

Greg Mathis

The roads are closed to the main facility. Traffic passing through in the 6 a.m. hour.

No word on the cause of the fire at this time. The bulk of the fire is still in the attic. Inmates were in the housing area but the fire was primarily in the attic.

TDCJ Communications Director Amanda Hernandez said the next execution is scheduled for October. However, there is no impact on that at this time. 

At 6 a.m., smoke could still be seen coming from the tower in front of the facility. Most of the heavy smoke and the bulk of the fire has been put out which is good news for this historic building. The facility where executions in the State of Texas take place there. It was established in 1845. That doesn’t mean this building was necessarily built then but this is an old structure and it’s definitely taking on a lot of fire damage this morning.

The facility holds about 1700 inmates. There were 320 inmates on site at the time the fire started around 2:30 a.m. this morning. They have all been moved to safety a we are told they were all moved somewhere to safety out of a unit here and somewhere else to safety possibly on the are grounds. If needed, TDCJ said they have the capability to transfer inmates to other facilities throughout the state. Not needed at this time. No injuries have been reported.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice their public information officer is coming in from Galveston so stay tuned in to CW39 Houston for more on this developing story.