Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WELCH — Several firefighters were honored Monday for their response to a recent call involving the discovery of a suspicious substance at the federal prison in McDowell County.

Members of the Princeton Fire Department’s HAZMAT team were among those first-responders who answered a call on June 24 at the FCI McDowell facility in Welch. The firefighters, Aaron Brunson, Corey Vest, Justin Shaffer and Lieutenant Adam Branscome, were honored by city council for their response to the incident at the federal prison, according to the Princeton Times.

A statement released Tuesday by the Federal Bureau of Prisons said staff working at FCI McDowell identified a suspicious substance contained in an incoming correspondence to the prison.

The prison staff quickly secured the area and notified local and federal authorities, the statement said. Inmates at the prison were secured in their housing units, and the institution was placed on modified operations status.

Hazardous material specialists who responded to the prison, including members of the Princeton Fire Department, determined the substance was non-hazardous, and the area was deemed safe.

Two staff members at the prison were transported to a local hospital for assessment and were discharged with no injuries, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.

No other injuries were reported, and at no time was the public in danger, the BOP statement said.

FCI McDowell is a medium-security level prison that currently houses 1,314 male offenders near Welch at the Indian Ridge Industrial Park.

— Contact Charles Owens at

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