May 1st, 2014
06:17 AM ET

2 Inmates Killed in Jail Blast

An apparent gas explosion caused part of a county jail in Florida to collapse, killing two inmates and injuring about 100 others.

The explosion took place late Wednesday night at the Escambia County Jail's central booking area. About 600 prisoners were in the building at the time, the county sheriff's office said.

Roughly 100 -150 inmates and correctional officers were hurt, said Kathleen Castro, a spokeswoman for the county. She confirmed the two fatalities.

The inmates who weren't injured were taken to other detention centers.

By early Thursday, authorities had completed two sweeps of the building. Search and rescue work were ongoing.

Severe weather that swept through the area caused significant flooding in the county Wednesday morning.

Castro said it was too early to say whether the explosion was weather-related.

"The building did receive extensive flooding as a result of the rains,"she told CNN affiliate WALA. "I don't know if that's directly related to the incident that happened this evening or not, we'll be doing an investigation to determine that."

Relatives gathered at the scene to get details on their loved ones.

"We don't know if they dead or alive. It's really frustrating," Eva Stewart told the affiliate. "I can't sleep not knowing if my child's OK. I got other family members in there too, I don't know if they're OK."

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