Panhandle Jail Guard Paralyzed by Explosion

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- Family members say a Florida Panhandle jail guard is paralyzed from the waist down following an explosion at the facility last week.

The Escambia County Jail was rocked by an explosion Wednesday night after a major rainstorm caused the basement to flood. Two inmates died and nearly 200 inmates and prison guards were injured. The exact cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

Christopher Hankinson reportedly worked in the property room, directly above the blast. He was thrown through a hole in the floor, into the flooded basement. The impact crushed a vertebra, multiple ribs and a shoulder blade.

Hankinson's niece, Carmen Stone, set up a fundraising site in the days after her uncle's injury. She told the Pensacola News Journal ( ) that although workman's compensation will cover the initial medical expenses, the family will end up paying for travel expenses, lodging, aftercare and other costs.