BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections will return 1,500 evacuated prisoners to Raymond Laborde Correctional Center (RLCC) on Friday and Saturday after a fire broke out at a shuttered tire recycling plant next to the prison.

The fire started on Jan. 16 but did not impact the prison. The DOC evacuated RLCC on Jan. 20, sending inmates to other state prisons when smoke from the fire started going towards the prison.

Parole officers will provide additional support and security in regards to returning the evacuated prisoners. In addition to existing COVID mask mandates in place for Department of Corrections employees, all prisoner evacuees are required to wear masks at all times during the bus transport for their protection against the virus.