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2 dead in Pensacola jail explosion

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  • 2 dead in Pensacola jail explosion

    An explosion at the Escambia County Central Booking and Detention Facility has left several injuries at the detention facility. Prisoners are being evacuated by bus.

    Two people were killed and scores injured Wednesday night, when "an apparent gas explosion" demolished a portion of the Escambia County Central Booking and Detention Center. The blast, which occurred around 11 p.m., rattled houses up to three miles away and forced county officials to evacuate some 600 prisoners.

    Droves of police officers and first responders roamed up and down Leonard Street in the wee hours of Thursday morning, coralling prisoners into school buses so they could be transported to detention facilities elsewhere in the region. Emergency personnel from as far away as Orange Beach, Ala., responded to the scene.

    Kathleen Dough-Castro, chief public information officer for the county, said male prisoners were being transported to detention facilities across Escambia County. About 200 female prisoners also were taken to the Santa Rosa County Jail, she said.

    The total number of injured had not been determined by early Thursday morning. However, Castro placed the number at more than 100. Dozens of people — both inmates and corrections officers — were taken out of the jail on stretchers and transported to area hospitals under police guard.

    The cause of the explosion had not yet been determined Thursday morning. Castro said the jail had suffered some flooding during the preceding two days' storms but added that it was not known whether the flooding had contributed to the blast.

    "It took heavy flooding today," Castro said, "but we're not sure if that affected what happened here tonight."

    News blurb on the radio this morning said that they think that the flooding caused erosion to the point that a gas line was compromised. Obviously it's still way early to make a firm determination.

    What a mess.
    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now