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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Monday November 5th, 2018 :: 02:45 p.m. PST


More details on jail disturbance, fire.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is providing more details on the disturbance, fire at the Sonoma County Jail today. At about 9:00 AM inmate Bernabe Martinez Ramirez was in a day room in the Male Special Module of the Sonoma County Jail. The Male Special Unit houses inmates who are segregated from the general population of the jail due to any number of circumstances.
The correctional staff of the Male Special Unit observed Ramirez acting agitated and tying bedsheets to handles of doors in an apparent attempt to keep deputies from entering the day room. Ramirez broke a manual pencil sharpener off a wall and placed it in a sock and swung it around using it as a weapon, threatening correctional staff. He also spread liquid soap on the floor in an apparent attempt to make the floors slick for entering deputies.
Negotiations with Ramirez at cooperating weren’t successful so deputies called in the Crisis Negotiations Team, a certified group of correctional deputies trained at dealing with people having crisis situations. The negotiations team spent approximately 40 minutes attempting to talk with Ramirez, trying to calm him down and deescalate the situation. Ramirez was able to use an electrical outlet to spark a small fire with toilet paper. He then caught more toilet paper on fire, then threw bed sheets and clothing on top to create an even larger fire. Ramirez eventually broke some wooden cabinetry and threw it on top of the fire, creating an even larger one with a lot of smoke present.
The fire alarm in the jail activated and the sprinkler system went off to put out the fire. A Special Response Team, which is a jail tactical team comprised of 15-20 deputies had assembled during the negotiations process. They were able to force their way into the day room and couldn’t see Ramirez due to the amount of smoke present.. The deputies were able to make their way to Ramirez and took him into custody while also using fire extinguishers to help put out the fire.
Ramirez and all the inmates of that particular housing unit of the Male Special Module were evacuated from the unit and placed into other secure areas of the jail. Ramirez was taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation treatment. The other inmates were evaluated by medical staff at the jail and four other inmates were deemed to need medical attention for smoke inhalation.
In addition to the 5 inmates, 16 correctional staff members were in need of medical attention for smoke inhalation. They were all transported to area hospitals for treatment. All inmates have been treated and sent back to the jail. All but one of the employees have been cleared from the hospital as well.
Sheriff’s detectives from the Property Crimes unit along with fire inspectors from the Santa Rosa Fire Department are investigating the incident as a felony arson case and it is likely he will face charges upon the completion of the investigation.
Ramirez has a violent criminal history and has been incarcerated in the Sonoma County jail since June 2, 2017 initially on charges of felony hit and run, obstruction of officer and attempt to remove a firearm from officer. In February, 2018 he allegedly stabbed another inmate and is facing additional charges of attempted murder.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
2796 Ventura Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-565-2650

Spencer Crum
Public Information
[email protected]

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