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Inmate sets fire at the Oldham County Jail, later flees Henry County deputies

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

A Henry County man is charged with arson after setting a fire this weekend in the Oldham County Jail.

Oldham County Police arrested 20-year-old Justin Reed on Sunday for violating an emergency protective order.

Jailer Mike Simpson said four to five hours into Reed's stay at the jail, staff members smelled smoke and spotted it seeping from his cell.

Staff members stamped out the fire, which was contained to a smoldering blanket.

Reed was alone at the time of the fire.

"He undoubtedly had a lighter or matches or something" concealed on his person, Simpson said.

While the fire did not trigger the jail's sprinkler system, it activated smoke alarms and prompted inspection by La Grange Fire & Rescue.

After extinguishing the fire, Simpson said staff members conducted "a more thorough search" of Reed, although they did not find matches or a lighter.

Simpson said he believes Reed flushed some type of ignitor in a toilet.

Reed now faces arson and wanton endangerment charges related to the fire. He  appeared in Oldham district court Monday morning for violation of the EPO.

The next day, Reed had a scheduled court appearance in Henry County on unrelated charges.

Deputies from the Henry County Sheriff's Office transported Reed from Oldham to Henry County for hearing. At some point during his return trip from the Henry County courthouse to the Oldham County Jail, Reed allegedly escaped and fled a few hundred yards while still handcuffed.

Deputies returned Reed to the jail Tuesday afternoon. 

E-mail us about this story at: editor@oldhamera.com.