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State attorney to present case for possible criminal charges in Panhandle jail explosion

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PENSACOLA, Florida — A state attorney in the Florida Panhandle will present evidence to a grand jury following a jail explosion that killed two inmates, paralyzed a detention officer and injured about 200 others.

State Attorney Bill Eddins announced Monday that a review by his office and reports by federal and state investigators found evidence that could prompt the grand jury to find a crime was committed. The grand jury will begin considering the case on Sept. 30.

There were 600 inmates in the jail when the explosion ripped through the bottom floor in April, a day after heavy rains left two feet of water in the building's basement. Inmates told the media, attorneys and family members that they smelled gas hours before the explosion.

Eddins has said criminal negligence charges are possible.

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