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2 minor injuries when possible tornado hits Florida Panhandle prison

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BLOUNTSTOWN, Florida — An apparent tornado touched down early Monday at a state prison near Blountstown in Florida's Panhandle, slightly injuring two people and damaging a number of vehicles.

The workers were just arriving for their shifts at the Calhoun Correctional Institution and had not even gotten out of their vehicles when the storm struck around 4 a.m. CST, Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel said.

Kimbrel said there was "major damage" to between 25 and 30 vehicles in the parking lot and some of the fencing around the prison's perimeter was knocked down. He said no one escaped from the facility, which has a maximum capacity of 1,354 inmates.

"Thank goodness that no one was seriously injured," Kimbrel said.

The sheriff said a number of sheriff's deputies and correctional officers were stationed outside the prison after the storm. He said the Florida Highway Patrol was also assisting.

He says there were no other reports of injury or damage in the area.

Sheriff's dispatcher Lisa Allsop said it had been raining off and on all night, but the storm came up "all of a sudden."

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