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An Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee has been charged with arson in connection with a fire inside the Etowah County Detention Center, according to Sheriff Todd Entrekin and Lt. Robin Grant. 

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Okiemute Omatie, 22, of Lagos, Nigeria, is charged with one count of first-degree arson and one count of destruction of state property, both felonies. The fire was started May 26, when Omatie manipulated an electrical outlet with a small wire to spark a fire. 

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Security video inside the common area of Unit 3 clearly shows Omatie walking to a cell with a burning piece of paper. He then set a mattress and other combustible items on fire inside the cell. The sprinkler system inside the unit activated as smoke and flames filled the cell. 

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Omatie, along with four other ICE detainees, were outside of their cells on free time when the incident occurred. “As bad as this incident was, it could have been a lot worse,” Entrekin said. 

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“I am thankful for the quick response from the Gadsden Fire Department and the deputies inside the detention center. Their professional and noble actions saved lives.” MORE VIDEO: Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon talks about Jacksonville State. 

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Omatie has an extensive criminal history in the U.S. and was discovered by ICE while incarcerated in New Hampshire. He has been convicted of robbery, aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault, trespassing, possession of marijuana and public order crimes. 

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Omatie has verbally confirmed that he is a native and citizen of Nigeria and has no claim to U.S. citizenship. He now is in local custody, where he is being held on $50,000 cash bond for the arson and property destruction charges. 

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