Thursday, November 23, 2017
Public safety

Pensacola jail explosion kills two, injures dozens of inmates and guards

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PENSACOLA — A gas explosion at the jail in Pensacola killed two people and injured more than 100 others, according to an Escambia County spokeswoman.

The explosion happened around 11 p.m. (midnight EDT) 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.

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.

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