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Escambia County jail explodes, inmates and staff injured

The recent floods in the Pensacola area have wrecked havoc on buildings and structures. With this destruction and damage comes a responsibility of people who own buildings and structures to make sure that those buildings are either safe for use or closed until they can be dealt with properly. The recent explosion at the Escambia County Jail shows how important it is to pay attention to every detail in a building.

The incident is said to have been caused by a natural gas explosion that happened near the booking area of the medium-security jail. Days prior to the explosion, people in the area reported smelling a natural gas smell. At the facility, it has been reported that the toilets weren't working, the basement was under two feet of water, and the jail was running on a generator at the time of the explosion.

It is possible that criminal charges might be filed, depending on what an investigation into the matter reveals, according to State Attorney Bill Eddins. The question now is whether officials failed to evacuate the 600 inmates in the jail after smelling natural gas. If they did, criminal negligence charges might be filed.

Taped phone calls and surveillance from the jail are being used as part of the investigation into what happened at the jail. The investigation, which will determine if the inmates were forced to remain in an unsafe environment, will likely take months to complete. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Florida fire marshal are working together to comb through the debris of the building to determine what happened.

The explosion killed two inmates, injured around 200 other people and paralyzed an officer. The inmates who aren't in the hospital are all accounted for and have been sent to other jails. Some family members of these prisoners say they don't know anything about their incarcerated loved ones.

ABC News reports that at least one prisoner is planning on filing a lawsuit against the county. Any lawsuit against the county has a cap per plaintiff of $200,000, since the county is a government entity.

Source:, "'Complete destruction': 2 die, dozens hurt as explosion shatters Florida jail" Michael Pearson, John Murgatroyd and Ed Lavandera, May. 01, 2014

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