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Legislature awards medals of honor to Etowah County deputies

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama legislature awarded a medal of honor on Thursday to three sheriff’s deputies who faced a fire set by inmates in a north Alabama county jail.

The medal of honor is the highest award given annually to law enforcement officers in the state.

Deputies Andy Reed, Hayden Clements and Tyler Cline responded to a fire set by immigrant detainees in the maximum security unit of the Etowah County Detention Center in May 2017. Five detainees facing deportation were plotting an alleged escape attempt. The deputies entered the smoke-filled unit and brought out 22 detainees safely. A Nigerian national was charged with setting the fire in June.

The legislature also honored eight medal nominees and Mobile police officer Justin Billa, who was shot while on duty on Feb. 20.

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