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Attempted escape reported at N.C. prison; several injured

CBS News logo CBS News 10/12/2017 Crimesider Staff
Police respond to the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, N.C. after a report of an attempted escape Oct. 12, 2017: pas.jpg © WTKR pas.jpg

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- An attempted escape was reported Thursday afternoon at a northeastern North Carolina state prison.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety tweeted that the attempted escape happened at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City around 3:30 p.m.. Fires were set in the prison sewing plant and several employees were injured, according to the tweet.

A spokesperson with Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City told CBS affiliate WTKR the hospital has received nine patients.  Two are being transferred to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, which is also expecting five additional patients, the station reports. 

The Department of Public Safety tweeted at 6:18 p.m. that the fires had been extinguished and the situation was under control. The prison, which houses just under 900 men, remained on lockdown.

Members of the department's Prison Emergency Response Team, consisting of officers from other facilities, have responded to to assist, DPS tweeted.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools told the station an elementary, middle and high school were placed on lockdown after an incident at a nearby jail, but the lockdown was later lifted.

Correction Enterprises, an arm of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, operates 32 businesses across the state that employs 2,300 inmate workers, according to the group's website. The group operates a sewing plant at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution that employs 30 inmate workers, the website says.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the inmates involved were employed by the plant. Calls to Correction Enterprises and the Department of Public Safety Thursday weren't immediately returned.

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