State Fire Marshal says jail explosion due to gas leak

The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have completed the ‘on-scene’ phase of their joint investigation into an explosion at the Escambia County Jail on the evening of April 30, 2014. The on-scene phase of the investigation determined that the explosion was the result of a natural gas release into the facility.

“The on-scene phase of our investigation may be complete, but there is still much to be learned,” said Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater. “Our investigators will continue to work day and night with the ATF and the State Attorney’s Office to uncover all of the answers victims and their families deserve to know.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the ATF will continue their investigation along with the 1st Circuit State Attorney’s Office to answer the many remaining questions related to the events preceding the explosion.

“I wish to thank the men and women from the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office, ATF Tampa Field Division and the ATF National Response Team for working endless hours, and combining their expertise and resources in order to conduct this investigation,” said ATF Tampa Field Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dave Brown. “Again, this is another example of the excellent and longstanding professional relationship that ATF has with the Florida State Fire Marshal.”

Due to the ongoing investigation, no more information can be released at this time. The State Fire Marshal’s Office will release a full report of their findings at the conclusion of the investigation.