Allegheny County Jail on lockdown after employees sickened by unknown substance

Allegheny County Jail on lockdown after employees sickened by unknown substance

PITTSBURGH — The Allegheny County Jail is on lockdown after 11 employees were sickened by an unknown odor or substance Sunday night, officials said.

Officials said the incident happened around 10 p.m.

>>RELATED: All state prisons in Pennsylvania on lockdown after unknown substance exposures

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Allegheny County officials said nine corrections officers and two members of the medical staff were taken to the hospital for evaluation and have been released.

Kenneth Littlejohn came to visit his brother on Monday when he learned about the lockdown.

He said his first thought was his brother's safety.

"I'm thinking it was some kind of sickness, the same thing going on in the prisons. I don't know what's going on yet, but it's kind of concerning because I don't want anything to happen to my brother," Littlejohn said.

Last week, state prisons across Pennsylvania went into lockdown after more than 30 people were sickened by an unknown substance in multiple facilities. Initial tests showed it was synthetic marijuana.

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Officials have not yet determined what caused the employees to become ill, but it is being treated similarly to the issue at the state correctional institutions.

In a news conference Tuesday, the warden indicated that testing was underway on stained papers that were confiscated. ACJ is operating under the assumption that the stains were caused by a narcotic, although it's unclear if that's related to the illnesses.

Allegheny County officials said the jail will be on lockdown until further notice.

Allegheny County officials said the jail staff members are interviewing inmates and will be conducting searches to determine what may have caused the illness.

All 11 employees have released from the hospital and returned to work.