A Bibb County sheriff’s deputy suffered serious burns to his hand in a fire set Sunday morning in an inmate transportation van.
Deputy Scott Rickert was sent Monday to the Still Burn Center in Augusta.
“They did some skin grafts and bandaged his hand and he’ll be back,” said Bibb Chief Deputy Russell Nelson.
Rickert and another deputy picked up 39-year-old Willie Lamar Porter at Coliseum Medical Centers to be transported for a mental evaluation at East Regional Hospital in Augusta. Before they hit Shurling Drive, Porter allegedly set fire to a seat in the back of the van, Nelson said
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Rickert looked around for a fire extinguisher then patted out the fire, he told Nelson.
“It must have been a small fire or he wouldn’t have tried to put it out,” Nelson said. “It was just one of those involuntary reactions.”
Rickert injured his hand on the burning plastic seat, he said.
Acting public information officer Lt. George Meadows said Porter was charged with arson and making terroristic threats after Rickert and the other deputy on the trip brought the unruly prisoner to the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center.
Porter had become disruptive at the Coliseum hospital even before the trip began, Nelson said.
“He had been fighting with him (Rickert) at the hospital,” Nelson said.
Before the van could get a little more than a mile down the road, the deputies noticed the fire and Porter was the only other person riding.
“He somehow got hold of a lighter and lit the seat on fire,” Meadows said.
Porter, of Lamar Street in Macon, was booked into the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday, according to jail records.
Rickert was treated and released Sunday from The Medical Center of Central Georgia, but needed to receive further treatment in Augusta due to the nature of the injuries.
To contact staff writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.