Gas Explosion At Florida Jail Leaves 2 Inmates Dead, At Least 100 Injured

Hundreds of inmates wound up in a hospital after an explosion in a Florida jail Wednesday night, which killed two and caused part of the Escambia County Central Booking and Detention Center to collapse entirely. Though it was most likely a gas explosion, it remains unclear how exactly the blast was caused, and investigators still looking into it. The blast happened at roughly 11 p.m. Wednesday, at which point roughly 600 inmates were in the building. Scores were taken to nearby medical facilities on stretchers; others were taken to nearby prisons on school buses.

"There was an apparent gas explosion in the central booking area of the Escambia County jail," said local spokeswoman Kathleen Dough-Castro, reports the BBC. "We had approximately 600 prisoners in the facility at the time. Injured prisoners are being transported under guard to area hospitals. Uninjured prisoners are being transported to other detention facilities."

As it stands, the total number those wounded hasn't been determined, although officials estimate that at least over 100 were injured and two as-yet-unidentified prisoners were killed — 155 patients were reportedly being treated at the nearby hospitals as of Thursday morning. According to the Escambia County Fire Chief Steve Booth, all jail personnel have now been accounted for, excepting two prisoners.

The cause of the explosion is still being investigated by the Escambia County Fire Marshal and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and no information about it — other than it being an "apparent gas explosion" — has been released.

Last December, 11 people were injured after an explosion took place at a Northern California prison. It was determined to have been caused by an oven accident in the jail's kitchen.