More than 100 injured in Florida jail explosion

More than 100 injured in Florida jail explosion

Credit: T.S. Strickland

More than 100 injured in Florida jail explosion

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by T.S. STRICKLAND / Pensacola News Journal

khou.com

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 5:14 AM

Updated Thursday, May 1 at 5:14 AM

An apparent gas explosion killed two and injured more than 100 people Wednesday night at the Escambia County Central Booking and Detention Facility in northwestern Florida.

The explosion shook houses for several blocks between 11:30 p.m. and midnight around the 1100 block of West Leonard Street. The area has been quarantined by Sheriff's Office personnel.

Escambia County Fire Chief Steve Booth confirmed to the Pensacola News Journal early Thursday morning that two inmates were dead.

All other inmates and facility have been accounted for.

"There was an apparent gas explosion in the central booking area of the Escambia County jail," Escambia County Public Information Officer Kathleen Dough-Castro said during a news briefing. "We had approximately 600 prisoners in the facility at the time. Injured prisoners are being transported under guard to area hospitals. Uninjured prisoners are being transported to other detention facilities in Escambia County as well as Santa Rosa County."

Dough-Castro said there was a partial building collapse, a roof collapse and that it is believed that the walls are unstable in the facility.

Inmates were moved via ECAT and school buses.

More than a dozen ambulances have carried multiple victims to area hospitals after they were removed from the facility on stretchers. About 100 people were injured in the blast that caused a part of the collapse.

Sacred Heart Hospital spokesman Mike Burke said this morning that 31 people were brought to the hospital by ambulances. Burke said all suffered non-life threatening injuries. He said law enforcement officers are at the hospital providing security as the inmates are being treated.

Baptist Hospital facilities in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze are treating victims from tonight's gas explosion at the county jail, a spokeswoman said this morning. She would not provide an exact number of patients.

Meanwhile, West Florida Hospital spokesman Kendrick Doidge said 37 patients were being treated at the facility this morning for "minor injuries."

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