Officials: Gas explosion at Escambia County Jail kills 2, injures dozens

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) - UPDATE: The bodies of the two people killed in the explosion last night at the Escambia County jail have been removed from the site.

Florida officials confirm a gas explosion at the Escambia County Jail in Pensacola has killed two inmates and injured between 100 to 150.

Authorities said on Wednesday, April 30, around 11 p.m., the explosion rocked the central booking facility.

PHOTOS: Officials say jail explosion kills 2

“It caused a partial building collapse, and we did have somewhere over 100 injuries, both inmates and corrections officers,” said Kathleen Castro, public information manager.

Since the explosion, officials have gone through the entire building and everyone, including inmates and workers, have been accounted for.

Escambia County officials said they’re still investigating the cause of the explosion, but the building did receive recent damage from severe thunderstorms.

“The building did receive extensive flooding as a result of the rains. I don’t know if that’s directly related to the incident that happened this evening or not, we’ll be doing an investigation to determine that,” said Castro.

In the meantime, hundreds of concerned family members gathered around the scene to find out the conditions of their loved ones. They told FXO10 News they’re unhappy with the lack of information they’ve been given.

“Where is our family members? We don’t know if they dead or alive. It’s really frustrating. I can’t sleep not knowing if my child’s okay. I got other family members in there too, I don’t know if they’re okay,” said Eva Stewart, a concerned family member.

“We’re trying to assure them that our first priority was that anyone that was injured was taken to area hospitals, and we will attempt to get information on the location of their loved one as soon as possible,” Castro said.

Baptist Health Care officials said Baptist Hospital has received 50 patients,12 have been treated and released. Gulf Breeze Hospital has received 31 patients,13 have been treated and released. All are non-life threatening injuries.

Prisoners:
All family members of prisoners will be able to gather and receive information at the Piccadilly, 3300 N Pace Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32505. Families are encouraged to wait there so the Escambia County Jail personnel and other participating emergency agencies can effectively relay information. Baptist Hospital and Gulf Breeze Hospital will not release any information about prisoners.

Jail Employees:
If you believe your family may have been transferred to a Baptist Hospital or Gulf Breeze Hospital due to this incident, please contact 850.554.1430 for more information. All family members of jail employees will be able to gather and receive information at the either Baptist Hospital or Gulf Breeze Hospital Emergency Rooms.

While we are currently experiencing an increase in patient numbers in our triage area and emergency department, patient safety and privacy are still our top concerns.

Additional Considerations:
Currently, all services at Baptist Hospital and Gulf Breeze Hospital will remain normal.

Participating Agencies:
Baptist Hospital and Gulf Breeze Hospital are working with the Escambia County Jail to respond to this emergency. Law enforcement officers are escorting  prisoners as they receive treatment.

FOX10 News will continue to follow this developing story and will have more updates as they become available.

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