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Gas Explosion at Florida Jail Kills Two, Injuries Over a Hundred Inmates

A gas explosion at a Northwest Florida jail that occurred late Wednesday evening has left two inmates dead and 150 injured.  The blast partially leveled the jail located in Escambia County, which held approximately 600 inmates.  Although the building is still reportedly standing, it is unstable and partially collapsed.  A prison spokesperson said that the blast may be attributable to recent storms that have hit the southern U.S., and that the building had already received significant flooding from recent rains.

How Inmates Died is Unclear According to Spokesperson

Although the prison spokesperson confirmed that two prisoners had died in the explosion, she said it was unclear how it happened.  Calls to local hospitals identified 151 inmates and guards being treated for explosion-related injuries, with a majority released today.  The prison’s website originally did not state a gas explosion, but later added that information.  The prison spokesperson said that the explosion resulted in a chaotic scene, where guards desperately tried to re-route inmates to other local detention centers and injured inmates being sent to the hospital.

Lawyers for Inmates Scramble to Update Worried Families on Outside

Locals that live near the prison say that they heard a loud blast that shook their homes and then quickly ran outside to witness the scene.  Investigators are now at the scene of the blast and that the fire marshal would ultimately determine the cause, although early speculation is that it stemmed from a gas leak.  The names of the two inmates injured were not released, but attorneys for inmates say that they have scurried to update their clients’ families on their status.  Unfortunately, many of those attorneys say they have been unable to get any information to pass along.

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