An attempted prison-break by inmates at a state prison in North Carolina left several employees injured on Thursday afternoon, but was thwarted by prison authorities, officials said.

According to CBS News reports, a fire was set in the sewing plant of the Pasquotank Correctional facility located in Elizabeth City, early on Thursday afternoon, the state Department of Public Safety(DPS), said while confirming the incident.

Pasquotank is a high-security facility that has a capacity of 896 inmates but was holding 729 when the attempt at freedom was made.

Later in a Tweet, the Public Safety Department, said the fire had been contained, the situation put under control and the prison placed on lockdown.

Employees injured

Although the department did not give details on the injured employees and their condition, an official of a nearby medical facility, Sentara Albemarle Medical Center(SAMC), said a total of nine patients had been received at the center.

The official, who spoke to CBS affiliate WTKR said two of the nine patients were being transferred across state lines to Sentara Norfolk hospital(SNGH), in Virginia, and that the hospital would receive another five more patients.

In a statement, the hospital asked family and friends of the patients in the two hospitals; SAMC and SNGH, to avoid 'both campuses' temporarily.

Correction Enterprises group, which is a branch of the North Carolina DPS, owns almost 32 businesses across the state that employ about 2,300 inmate workers according to information posted on the group's website.

The business ventures include the sewing plant at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution, which hires 30 inmate workers.

It is still not clear whether the employed inmates were responsible for the attempted prison-break. Efforts to get a comment by CBS News, from the group were fruitless.

No official from the group was available for comment, and calls were not immediately returned.

Brief school lockdown

Three local schools located in the vicinity of the prison were put on a temporary lockdown which was later lifted when the situation was put under control by members of the Prison Emergency Team who came from other facilities, to assist their colleagues.

In a separate statement, the Elizabeth City Pasquotank Public School District said that the three schools were put on lockdown following the advice of the Emergency Management.

The statement further added that students who were heading home in school buses were brought back to their respective institutions, to avoid them being home alone, in case the prison-break had succeeded.

Many schools and other institutions around prisons and other high-security facilities, usually have a laid down procedure on immediate measures to take in case of an incident.