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UPDATE 1:47 p.m.:

A news conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. regarding Wednesday night's gas explosion at the Escambia County jail that killed two inmates and sent a total of 184 people to local hospitals for treatment.

The injured included inmates and corrections officers.

Two male inmates and one corrections officer are still in the hospital with injuries, according to Escambia spokesman Bill Pearson.

All others have been treated and released.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion is under way by the State Fire Marshal's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.

In a new development today, Bev DeMello, an assistant director at the Florida Public Service Commission, said via e-mail that the problem "appears to be an inside pipe."

That would mean that it appears the leak is not from part of the gas main or service lines maintained by Pensacola Energy, but rather a pipe -- or possibly some other gas source -- inside the jail facility.

DeMello said one state public service commission staff member is on site as part of the investigation, but cannot get inside the building. The fire marshal has denied access to the jail, so far, because the building is not stable.

Information from the news conference will be posted as they become available.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: All three of the missing inmates after the explosion at the Escambia County Jail central booking facility are believed to be in transit or in treatment at local hospitals, according to county officials.

The identities of the dead are still unconfirmed.

No additional dead have been discovered, and all correctional officers have been accounted for.

Most inmates are being housed temporarily at other Escambia County detention facilities such as the road prison in Cantonment.

Sheriff David Morgan said corrections officers are attempting to arrange for each inmate to contact their family.

Approximately 200 female inmates have been transferred to a Santa Rosa County jail facility.

A news release from the jail said that officials are working to provide each inmate with free telephone service, medical care, food and clothing.

For information on the status and location of an inmate contact the Citizen's Information Line at (850) 471-6600.

A bailbondsman and mom of one of the inmates who was in the Escambia County Jail during a deadly explosion Wednesday caused a scene during a press conference. This after the sheriff said some inmates could have escaped or been buried in the rubble.

UPDATE: 10:35 a.m.: There are two confirmed dead and three missing in an explosion at Escambia County Jail late Wednesday night, according to county officials.

County spokeswoman Kathleen Dough-Castro said that engineers have been able to enter the central building of the jail, where a suspected gas explosion blew out the front of the building and injured approximately 150 people.

Engineers are currently assessing the stability of the facility, Dough-Castro said.

The explosion reportedly destroyed much of the first floor, and Sheriff David Morgan said the building was probably a total loss.

Family members said some inmates reported smelling gas prior to the explosion, but Dough-Castro said that report is unconfirmed.

Prior to the explosion, the first floor of the jail was heavily flooded the rain Wednesday morning, Morgan said. A retention wall in the facility collapsed due to flood damage.

Officials say they are still determining if the explosion was related to the flooding.

Inmates are being temporarily housed in nearby jails and local hospitals.

Friends and family members are asked to call the Citizen's Information Line at (850) 471-6600 for information about the location and status of inmates.

UPDATE 10:19 a.m.: Sheriff David Morgan said during a press conference this morning there could be inmates who escaped or were buried in the rubble of the Escambia County Jail after an explosion Wednesday night.

Two unidentified inmates were killed and approximately 150 detainees and corrections officers were injured when a gas line at the jail exploded around 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to county officials.

Morgan said the county is working with state and federal agencies to perform a head count of all 600 personnel, including officers, who were in the jail at the time of the explosion.

Wounded inmates were taken to five area hospitals and healthy inmates were transported to other jails all over the area, but Morgan said some of them could have been lost in the shuffle.

"It is possible inmates could have escaped," Morgan said.

He also said that it's possible that inmates could still be in the debris of the building, but that no one can go inside the jail to check until engineers determine the building is structurally sound.

"It's pretty much complete destruction," Morgan said.

Officials will not know what inmates are uncounted for until they can check them all off individually using a master list of prisoner's names, according to Morgan. There is currently no estimated time of completion for that headcount.

The explosion reportedly originated in the rear of the first floor of the building, the sheriff said.

He said the floor sustained some flooding in the previous night's rain, but that jail officials did not evacuate the inmates because "the area in the building where flooding occurred did not endanger inmates."

County officials say they are still investigating if and how the flooding contributed to the explosion.

UPDATE 9:52 a.m.: Sheriff David Morgan said during a press conference this morning that there could be inmates who escaped or were buried in the rubble of the Escambia County Jail following an explosion night.

Two unidentified inmates were killed and approximately 150 detainees and corrections officers were injured when a gas line at the jail exploded around 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to county officials.

Morgan said the county is working with state and federal agencies to perform a head count of all 600 personnel, including officers, who were in the jail at the time of the explosion.

The inmates were transported to five local hospitals and jails all over the area after the explosion, and Morgan said there is a possibility that some prisoners could have escaped during the confusion.

He said that officials will not know what inmates are uncounted for until they can check them all of individually using a master list of prisoner's names.

Morgan said at this point there is no estimated time of completion.

Update 8:40 a.m.: In the wake of a deadly explosion at Escambia County Jail, families are frantically trying to figure out if their loved ones are OK.

Shortly after 11 p.m., a gas explosion rocked the central booking area of the jail, killing two detainees, according to county officials.

A total of 150 inmates and corrections officers were injured in the blast.

The detainees at the jail have been transported to other facilities, but their loved ones don't know where they are or if they are injured.

Sarah Sedes rushed to the jail this morning with her aunt to see if her cousin was among the wounded or dead. Hours later, she still doesn't know.

"They haven't given us any information," Sedes said. "No one will even tell us if he's alive."

County spokesman Bill Pearson said that the interim county administrator, the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are working to confirm everyone's location.

"The complicated part is we've had people taken to hospitals, to other jails," he said. "It's a moving target."

Once the list of people and their locations has been compiled, it will be published on bereadyescambia.com, Pearson said.

The county is tentatively planning a 9 a.m. press conference.

Update 8:30 a.m.: The State Fire Marshal's Office is at the scene of the blast this morning. The area is still cordoned off, and bystanders are being told to stand back. County officials are expected to brief the media later this morning on the latest developments. Leonard Street between F and L streets is closed.

Original Story:

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.

Sacred Heart Hospital spokesman Mike Burke said Thursday that 31 people had been admitted to the hospital in relation to the incident — all with non life-threatening injuries. Eighty-one victims were also being treated at Baptist Hospital facilities in Pensacola (50, 12 treated and released) and Gulf Breeze (31, 13 treated and released), a spokeswoman said Thursday morning. Meanwhile, 37 patients were being treated for "minor injuries" at West Florida Hospital, spokesman Kendrick Doidge said.

By 2 a.m., search and rescue crews had accounted for all jail personnel and all but two prisoners, Escambia County Fire Chief Steve Booth said. The chief said that two unidentified inmates had also been confirmed dead.

"They ain't telling you anything," Daniels said as he watched paramedics scurrying back and forth. "All they are telling everybody is to stand back."

Debra Griffin, who also stood nearby, said she was frustrated by the lack of communication. Griffin's son, nephew and daughter-in-law were housed in the facility. She left her job at a nearby adult care center when she heard about the explosion in the hope of learning if her loved ones were safe.

"All I wanted to do was see my little ones," she said. Instead, she saw people being carried away on stretchers and in body bags.

Castro said families would be notified once authorities had had time to evacuate the facility and get medical care to those who were injured.

"The first process is making sure that we have everyone, that we know where they are, and then we'll begin informing family members," she said.

The jail has a troubled history. County officials are currently knee-deep in negotiating a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve the findings of a scathing five-year federal investigation of the facility.

The investigation — which wrapped up in May — determined that inadequate management of the jail had led to routine violations of inmates' constitutional rights.

Problems cited by federal investigators included a low number of guards watching over many inmates, which contributed to "appalling" levels of violence, "clearly inadequate" mental health care and a recently discontinued practice of segregating inmates according to race. Sheriff David Morgan, who was then-manager of the jail, told investigators in April he had put an end to that decadeslong practice.

The county agreed in June to take over the jail from Morgan and take responsibility for the federal government's findings after weeks of tense debate on how to address the DOJ report. The hand-off took place only six months ago, on Oct. 1.

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