30-plus treated after opioid exposure at Fort Wayne jail

Authorities say 30 guards and a nurse at the Allen County Jail in downtown Fort Wayne have gone to hospitals for medical evaluation after being exposed to an undetermined opioid substance in the jail.

Allen County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Capt. Steve Stone said the guards had entered the D-block cellblock of the county jail Monday morning after being alerted that inmates there were smoking something. He says they reported smelling smoke and feeling strange. The officers later were released from treatment.

During the search of one jail cell, jail officers located a piece of paper infused with an unknown substance that tested positive for opioids, a sheriff’s department news release said.

All of the inmates in D-block and B-block, which shares the same air handler, were observed by nurses and emergency medical technicians, the news release said. All of the inmates in D-block were in their cells when the incident took place, which prevented them from being exposed.

As an added precaution, the inmates and the cell block were decontaminated, the news release said.

Just after 2 p.m. Monday, sheriff’s officers, the Fort Wayne Fire Department, medics and the Fort Wayne Police Department responded to the jail after additional reports of jail staff being exposed to the unknown substance, the sheriff’s department reported. The symptoms were similar to those experienced by jail staff Monday morning.

Additional decontamination was taking place late Monday afternoon.

The sheriff’s department plans to do additional testing on the substance in the paper, but no charges had been filed as of Monday afternoon, the news release said.