Two North Carolina prison employees killed during escape attempt

(Reuters) - Two employees at a North Carolina prison were killed on Thursday when inmates tried to escape by setting a fire, but no inmate broke out, officials said.

Several people were injured in the violence at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, which is located less than 50 miles (80 km) south of Norfolk, Virginia, the state Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

Inmates started a fire in the prison's sewing plant and then tried to escape, the statement said.

The fire was extinguished and the prison, in the northeast part of the state, was placed on lockdown, officials said. The state's Prison Emergency Response Team, a tactical unit, rushed to the facility along with local police.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) declared the situation under control, less than two hours after sending out an alert on social media about the violence.

The two people killed in the escape attempt were employees at the prison, Keith Acree, an emergency management spokesman for the state, said by phone.

Ten people injured at the prison were transported to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City, and three of those patients were later transferred to another hospital in Norfolk, Peter Sengenberger, a spokesman for the medical facility, said in an email.

Sengenberger declined to provide details on the conditions of the patients. It was not clear if any of the people who were injured were inmates.

None of the inmates managed to escape, DPS said in a statement.

"The DPS family is devastated by the tragic events that took place at Pasquotank Correctional Institution," North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks said in a statement.

Pasquotank, a high-security prison for men, had more than 700 inmates on Thursday, including people held in medium and minimum security conditions, according to DPS.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Tom Brown, Lisa Shumaker and Michael Perry)

10/12/2017 23:01

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