Two prison employees were killed and several others injured Thursday during an attempted escape at North Carolina’s Pasquotank Correctional Institution, the Charlotte Observer reports. The attempted breakout began around 3 p.m. when inmates set a fire in the prison’s sewing plant, where about 30 inmates produce embroidered logo items, safety vests and other items for government agencies and nonprofits, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said.
Several inmates tried to escape as the fire was being extinguished, but they were unsuccessful. The prison was put on lockdown, with all inmates accounted for. The employees who died were correctional officer Justin Smith, 35, who provided security, and Veronica Darden, 50, who supervised inmates working in the plant. Three other prison employees remain hospitalized in critical condition, and seven others were treated and released. One employee was “struck multiple times with a hammer,” the state said. Four inmates were also treated for injuries. The prison houses 730 adult male felons in both high-security and minimum-custody buildings.