Four inmates, including two men about to extradited to over seas on murder charges, freed themselves from police custody during a prison lock down by igniting trash from a prison waste container and then fleeing through an air conditioning duct, authorities announced today.
Other inmates and prison officials quickly extinguished the blaze set by the inmates.
Smoke from the fire may have contained poison gases or have been hot enough to burn inmates throats or airways, officials said.
Sheriff Tony Hegman identified the escapees as Ken Wiston, 29; Will Washington, 25; Ted Garza, 31; and Daniel Jackson, 30.
"We had escapes before, but nothing like this. We're getting good help from the FBI and other enforcement agencies," Hegman said. "This could be a bad one. Ken Wiston will not stop until someone stops him. It's just too bad, but we'll clean up this situation by tracking them down via the leads we've got."