Florida jail explosion wounds 184 as Pensacola floods
An explosion that rocked a Florida County jail sent 184 inmates and workers to the hospital. Officials say two inmates died, all others were accounted for. The blast comes as Pensacola has been hit by flooding. Instagram video is available online of what happened when an explosion turned a Florida panhandle jail’s protective walls into something deadly. Escambia County officials say there were about 600 inmates in the medium-security facility when the explosion happened Wednesday night.
“It’s pretty much complete destruction inside this facility,” said Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan. “It was a huge explosion.”
The damage from what’s suspected to be a natural gas explosion is so bad that deputies haven’t been able to get fair into the building.
“Obviously, our foremost thing is we have this building that has experienced significant structural damage. Our investigation will be slow and methodical,” said Chief Joe Steadman of the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations.
“We’re here for the purpose of getting to the bottom of it,” stated Florida State Fire Marshall Jeff Atwater, “to the origin and the cause of the event, and it’s clear that this is a significant and/or horrific event that has occurred here at this facility.”
The explosion follows two days of torrential rain in Pensacola. In fact, the National Weather Service says the 15.55 inches of rain that fell Tuesday contributed to the explosion. Inmates who aren’t in the hospital are now in nearby jails while the investigation at the Escambia County Jail continues. Lastly, one female in the facility went into labor during the explosion and gave birth to a healthy baby.