Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools said students on buses who had not arrived home already were brought back to the schools because of the potential of inmates being in the area.
A fire was set inside the prison and several employees were injured, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
The Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office said the call was received just after 3 p.m.
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Six patients involved with the incident are being treated at the Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, a spokesperson told WTKR.
Members of the Prison Emergency Response Team, consisting of officers from other facilities, have responded to Pasquotank to assist, DPS officials said Thursday evening. Northside Elementary, Elizabeth City Middle, and Pasquotank County High School were placed on lockdown as a precaution.
Pasquotank Correctional Institution is a high-security prison for adult male inmates. Several employees injured. More info when avail. Elizabeth City is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Norfolk, Virginia, and near North Carolina's Outer Banks. However, extra precautions were still being taken to securely transport students home.