Wednesday night the explosion ripped through the Pensacola jail’s area of central booking, said Kathleen Castro a spokesperson for the county. Close to 600 inmates were inside the building when the explosion took place, said Castro.
Castro said rescue personnel believe that between 100 and 150 jail workers and inmates were hurt in the blast, while two inmates lost their lives.
At five hospitals in the area, medical personnel were treating 155 patients, said officials from the different medical facilities.
All of the 155 patients suffered injuries that were non-life threatening such as back and neck pain and most were treated and then released from the emergency rooms.
Those inmates who did not sustain any injuries were taken to jails in the area. By the early morning hours of Thursday, authorities completed two full sweeps of the entire building. Search and rescue teams continued their operation.
Castro said that it appeared the roof along with a section of one of the walls collapsed from the blast.
The building was heavily damaged from flooding that caused over a foot of rain to fall during this week. However, Castro said the building remained inhabitable until the blast on Wednesday night.
Officials on site said they could not determine yet if the Wednesday night explosion had anything to do with the flooding.
The county spokesperson said officials would not speculate on whether the two were related. Relatives of the inmates gathered outside the jail so they could get details on the conditions of their loved ones.
One relative told reporters that the situation was very frustrating because she could not find out if her child was safe, injured or killed. She also said she had other members of her family in the jail and did not know their status either.