A huge gas explosion destroyed part of a Florida jail last night, killing 2 inmates and injuring more than 150 prisoners and jail workers. The accident could have potentially hurt even more people, considering how an astounding 600 inmates were housed at the Escambia County Central Booking and Detention Center at the time. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the explosion, but it's believed to be related to the heavy flooding brought on by torrential rainstorms that took place in the state this week.
The explosion, which was so big people living three miles away could feel their houses shaking because of it, led to the collapse of both the jail's roof and part of a wall. A total of 155 prisoners and workers were sent to nearby hospitals. Most of them suffered from minor injuries like back and neck pain. The inmates who were not hurt were transported to different detention facilities in the area. There have been no reports of prisoners escaping during the chaotic and long night.
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Our society doesn't always value people in the prison system. We sometimes forget about them or dismiss the fact that they have families who love them. While the tragedy was unfolding, inmates' relatives gathered at the jail to find out whether their loved ones had been hurt or worse in the accident, but they say they were frustrated by the lack of communication and info they were receiving from officials.
A person in prison is dealing with the consequences of whatever crime he or she committed and deserves the same basic respect as everyone else. Let's hope the families of the two inmates who were killed are treated with empathy and kindness during this time.
Do you think the families of these inmates deserved the right to see their loved ones after the tragedy?
Image via Tim (Timothy) Pearce/Flickr