The gas leak and how much was known about it prior to the explosion will be the focus over the next few hours, maybe even days.
Attorney Eric Stevenson has clients in the jail and has visited the site. He is concerned about the leak, “If there was a gas leak for weeks, and they knew about it. That’s a big problem.”
Stevenson said County Commissioner District 4 Grover Robinson confirmed to him that explosion came from kitchen area. The new kitchen had been operating for six days supposedly. In an earlier interview Sheila Travis, whose son is in the detention center, said the county had only fed the inmates one time Wednesday.
Stevenson described the scene at the command center as chaotic and the explosion “looks awful.”
Attorney Gene Mitchell just talked to his client, Barney Tully, who was sitting at the work release center. Tully had a bulge in his stomach and two broken feet. He told Mitchell that he was lying in the top bunk on the first floor and then heard a “Kaboom!” He flew off his bed on top of inmate on bunk below and says the second and third floors fell on top of them. He said he helped pull out other inmates from the wreckage.
Mitchell said he can not get any information on several of his other clients. “I have parents calling me and I can’t give them any answers,” Mitchell said. He has heard an unconfirmed report that a correction officer was paralyzed from the blast.
The County is giving out phone number – 850-471-6600 for parents only to call to find out about their incarcerated loved ones.