3 Florida inmates missing after jail blast located

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) – An official with the Escambia County Commission said three inmates who were missing after an apparent gas explosion at a jail have been located.

Two people were killed in that explosion Wednesday night.

A spokesperson for Escambia County said 184 people were taken to hospitals, but, only two inmates and one corrections officer are still there.

FEDERAL AGENTS JOIN IN

Federal agents joined state fire investigators in combing through the wreckage.

The explosion happened about 11:00 Thursday night and authorities believe gas was a factor, as well as possibly heavy rains.

Escambia County Spokesperson Kathleen Castro said, “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.”

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said the initial investigation points to the explosion originating on the first floor of the back of the building.

Sheriff Morgan said, “It was back in the back area, probably in the vicinity of what is normally used as the inmate laundry room. There are washers and dryers down there.”

COUNTING INMATES

Thursday morning, Sheriff Morgan also said he thought it was possible an inmate could have escaped during the incident because damage prevented an accurate head count from being done.

Morgan said, “Our concern here, obviously, is notification of next of kin, as quickly as possible, but, to also ensure that we don’t have any inmates that may have escaped out into our community.

But, the Escambia County Commission is in charge of running the jail system.

Thursday morning, Escambia County Spokeswoman Kathleen Castro said three inmates were unaccounted for, but, as for being on the loose in the community, she said, “We believe by head count, that, while it is possible, it is not probable that people escaped.”

Then, late Thursday, Castro said the three inmates had been located.

In the meantime, the investigation continues.

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