A fiery attempted prison escape in North Carolina left two employees dead and more than a dozen others injured Thursday, authorities said.
Blazes were set at the Pasquotank Correctional Institute’s sewing plant in Elizabeth City around 3:30 p.m., the state Department of Public Safety said Thursday afternoon.
Supervisor and trainer Veronica Darden, 50, and corrections officer Justin Smith, 35, were identified later as the employees killed, though authorities didn’t say what led to their deaths.
Three other employees are hospitalized, with seven workers and three inmates treated for injuries after they attempted to break out of the plant, the Department of Public Safety said early Friday.
An attempted escape from the Pasquotank Correctional Institute in Elizabeth City, N.C., left several people injured.
No prisoners managed to escape during the chaos, and fires were put out.
Darden had previously worked as a corrections officer before joining her current job in 2007. Smith started as an officer five years ago.
“We will do everything we can to support their families during this difficult time,” North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks said.
“Those who work in our prisons do a difficult and demanding job that is critical to our safety. We’re grateful to these fallen prison employees for their service, and we offer our condolences to their families, friends, coworkers and community on this tragic loss,” the state’s Gov. Roy Cooper said.
The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools said several area schools had been placed on lockdown Thursday afternoon during the tumult.
The high-security all male prison can hold 896 inmates, and has a staff size of 410 employees, according to the prison’s website.