A fatal explosion is currently being investigated by the Escambia County Fire Marshal and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The incident reportedly took place at the Escambia County jail in Pensacola, Fla. at about 11:00 pm on Wednesday.
The terrible blast apparently leveled the central booking facility at the location.
After being described as simply an “explosion” early on with the cause of the blast being more or less ambiguous, it was later identified as “an apparent gas explosion” by county spokeswoman Kathleen Dough-Castro.
Castro spoke to reporters about the ongoing situation, informing the press that the affected building “is still standing”. However it is “unstable and partially collapsed”, making it unsafe for personnel or inmates.
The uncertain nature of facility was a major reason why law enforcement officials and emergency responders were working frantically to get people out of the building.
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“We have reports people heard an explosion and smelled gas,” said Castro. She added that despite the blast, “there was no fire” reported at the scene by officials.
Two inmates are said to have been killed by the gas explosion.
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Castro believes that anywhere between 100 and 150 prisoners and guards were injured due to the blast.
The injured prisoners have been accounted for and were all transported to hospitals in the surrounding area for treatment.
No life-threatening injuries are believed to have occurred as spokespersons from various area hospitals say that inmates and personnel are being treated for “minor injuries”.
The blast forced law enforcement officials to evacuate approximately 600 inmates from the facility.
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Castro also stated that in the aftermath of the explosion, the uninjured prisoners have been relocated to detention centers in other areas of Escambia County and neighboring Santa Rosa County.
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office jail is said to have received about 100 inmates. Office spokesman Rich Aloy said that this was a rough estimate and that the exact number of inmates transferred to the location is unknown.
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) May 1, 2014
Despite the chaotic and frantic nature reported at the site of the blast, there have been no escapees reported.
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