Blast at Florida jail injures more than 100 inmates, guards

SEATTLE (REUTERS) - More than 100 inmates and guards were injured in an explosion at a jail in northern Florida late on Wednesday, an official said.

The blast partly levelled the four-storey Escambia County Jail's central booking facility, which held roughly 600 inmates, said county spokesman Kathleen Castro.

No deaths or fugitives were reported.

"The building is partially collapsed," Ms Castro said. The blast, which took place at around 11pm local time, was apparently a gas explosion, she said, but it was unclear what caused it.

It might have been related to severe storms that have blasted the southern United States, Ms Castro said.

"The facility did receive extensive flooding as a result of the rains yesterday."

The facility holds about 400 men and 200 women. Injured prisoners were being transported to area hospitals, with those uninjured being sent to other detention centres in Escambia county and neighbouring Santa Rosa county, Ms Castro said.