Gas Explosion At County Jail Kills 2 Inmates, Injures Over 100 People

PENSACOLA, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — A gas explosion at the jail in Pensacola, Florida, killed two people and injured more than 100 others, according to an Escambia County spokeswoman.

The explosion happened around 11 p.m. CDT Wednesday in a booking facility at the Escambia County Jail, said Kathleen Castro, the county’s public information manager. The blast also injured 100 to 150 inmates and corrections officers and caused the building to partially collapse.

She said about 600 inmates were in the building at the time.

Castro said she didn’t know if flooding in the area was a factor but said the jail did get extensive flooding during heavy rains that drenched the region Tuesday and Wednesday.

WKMG-TV reports that the two people killed were inmates at the jail.

The injured were brought to hospitals and the uninjured inmates were brought to jails in neighboring counties, Castro said.

Victims were taken to Sacred Heart Hospital, West Florida Hospital and two Baptist Health Care hospitals in Pensacola and nearby Gulf Breeze.

Vicki Brooks, a spokeswoman for Sacred Heart, said they treated 31 patients with mostly neck and back injuries. Kendrick Doidge said West Florida Hospital treated 37 inmates in the emergency room and all have been released back into the custody of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Of the 50 patients taken to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, 12 had been treated and released by Thursday morning, said spokeswoman Liz Branch. At Gulf Breeze Hospital, 13 of the 31 patients from the explosion were treated and released.

The names of the two people killed in the explosion weren’t immediately released.

“For one, I want to know if my family members are alright. They ain’t telling us nothing,” Shakil Williams told WKRG-TV. “They should have told us by now.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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