The Department of Public Safety says two employees at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City have been killed after inmates set a fire in an unsuccessful escape attempt. The department has identified the victims as 35-year-old correctional officer Justin Smith and 50-year-old Veronica Darden.
Both worked in the prison sewing plant, where inmates make safety vests and other items. Inmates started the fire in the sewing plant around 3 p.m. yesterday. DPS says the prison was put on lockdown and that none of the inmates were able to escape. The department says three prison employees remain hospitalized, seven other employees were treated and released, and four inmates were treated for injuries. Pasquotank Correctional Institution houses nearly 900 adult, male felons in both high-security and minimum-custody buildings.