The five inmates were chatting about life after they got out and getting home to their kids, Muhammad al-Khulaidi says. Then the first air strike hit.
Three of them were among at least 60 people killed on Friday (January 21) in strikes by a Saudi-led coalition.
They were Yemen's deadliest airstrikes in more than two years, as the seven-year-old conflict between the coalition and the Houthi group witnesses an unprecedented escalation.
Khulaidi survived by jumping, with a broken leg, from the second floor of the detention center in Saada, a northern Houthi stronghold.
"I was trying to free my leg from under the pillar and the warplane continued to bombard us. I tried and tried, and I removed the debris from under my leg, and got out. I could not help my friends because my leg was broken. I was crying to people for help as the warplane continued to strike, and hit the rest of the wards."
On Monday (January 24), the Houthis announced they had fired Zulfiqar ballistic missiles at an airbase in Abu Dhabi that is used by the United States, as well as other targets.
The United Arab Emirates, which is part of the coalition, said it foiled that attack.
It followed an assault that killed three people in the UAE last week.
The Iran-aligned Houthis say Abu Dhabi must pay the price for backing militias that are preventing them from capturing prized oil regions.
They are trying to knock the UAE's reputation as a safe haven and hub of tourism and commerce.
The conflict is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It has displaced millions of people, and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.