In an attempted escape from Pasquotank Correctional Institute in Elizabeth City, inmates set fire to a sewing plant which resulted in the loss of life of two prison employees and the injury of several others.
After the initial fire was put out, the group of prisoners that tried to escape lit a second fire at the plant, where some 30 inmates work.
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Correctional officer Mr Justin Smith, 35 years old, and correction enterprises manager Ms Veronica Darden, 50 years old, were killed during the events. They had both been in service of the prison for more than five years.
Seven other prison employees were treated for burn wounds at local hospitals and afterwards released, three remain in critical condition.
According to the Department of Public Safety, Pasquotank Correctional Institute houses 725 male inmates in custody.
Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina was briefed on the situation and released the following statement: "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 tragic events are being investigated by the Pasquotank County Sherrif’s Department.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="tr" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pasquotank?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pasquotank</a> Toplu firar girişimi başarısızlıkla sonuçlandı ancak ölü ve yaralılar var.Bölgedeki okullarda eğitime ara verildi <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NorthCarolina?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NorthCarolina</a> <a href="https://t.co/3cnKo8wFJd">pic.twitter.com/3cnKo8wFJd</a></p>— Kamil Eryazar (@FarkliBirBakis_) <a href="https://twitter.com/FarkliBirBakis_/status/918634939624689672?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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The Public Safety Secretary of the region, Mr Erik Hooks, declared: "The DPS family is devastated by the tragic events that took place at Pasquotank Correctional Institution. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families and co-workers of the employees who lost their lives in service to the State."
According to North Carolina authorities no prisoners escaped even though local residents had heard that as many as five prisoners could be seen running in the streets nearby.