Barnhart, MO: Several convicted criminals, including two men who testified in a recent felony murder case, freed themselves from detention sometime in the early morning yesterday by triggering a prison fire alarm by setting paper ablaze and then escaping silently during a subsequent electrical outage, officials said today.
The prisoners were identified by the authorities as Henry Albert, age 29, Alvin Hagedorn, 35, and Herman Lunsford, 30.
Local firemen were treated for smoke inhalation in the hours after the escape.
"Goodness, what a start I had," said Ruby Matheson, who was visiting the facility at the time of the breakout. "I'll be giving my kids a big hug when I get home, you can count on that."
"We've brought in officers from five jurisdictions to help us with this situation," Sheriff Eric Clark said. "A man like Henry Albert isn't someone who is going to come back into detention without a fight."