12/15/2016 06:17 EST | Updated 12/16/2017 00:12 EST

Big chunk of Saskatchewan prison 'uninhabitable' after riot: union spokesman

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — A spokesman for the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers says members have told him a large part of the Saskatchewan Penitentiary is uninhabitable after a riot and that several inmates were sent to hospital.

James Bloomfield says the prison in Prince Albert has been secured after the violence that began early Wednesday afternoon in a medium-security living unit.

Bloomfield says based on information he's heard from union members at the prison, the damage includes smashed windows everywhere and heat registers that have been pulled off the walls.

He says the trouble began when inmates refused to be locked up as part of their normal routine and then started barricading the entrance to the unit when negotiations with staff broke down.

The union spokesman says about six to seven inmates were sent for treatment, while one correctional officer was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure after exposure to bodily fluids.

There has been no immediate update on the disturbance from the Correctional Service of Canada, but spokesman Jeff Campbell said last night that the prison has been placed in a lockdown and that he did not know if anyone had been injured.