About 130 central Illinois schoolchildren and their teachers were sent to area hospitals following a carbon monoxide leak in a middle school.
The carbon monoxide poisoning began at about 8:45 a.m. at North Mac Intermediate School in Girard, a small town about 30 miles south of Springfield. North Mac superintendent Marica Cullen told the State Journal-Register that students began showing signs of illness and began filing into the nurse’s office.
“Because we are a small community, we have members of the fire rescue squad and EMTs who are on staff at the school. We also have a registered nurse on staff as a teacher. We able to immediately start the medical (assistance).”
Once school officials realized something was amiss, the children and staff were evacuated to area churches. As townsfolk noticed ambulances pulling into their town’s school, more help began pouring in. The Springfield Fire Department, some 30 miles away, also sent equipment and personnel to help those sickened by carbon monoxide poisoning.
“This has been a real pulling together. We have people in the community who have medical training who came up to volunteer to help us.”
UPDATE: Sick children will be sent to Springfield hospitals, others evacuated to a nearby church.
— WICS ABC 20 (@wics_abc20) September 15, 2014
None of the students who were sent to hospitals appeared to be in serious danger; they were talking and conscious, according to The Huffington Post.
As of this post, at least two people have been admitted to an area hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Their conditions are unclear. It is also unknown if those two are children, adults, or one of each.
The local gas utility company was called in to shut off the gas, but as it turns out, gas was not the culprit. Colder temperatures over the weekend caused the furnaces in the building to kick on. A faulty pipe on the furnace was found to be the cause of the carbon monoxide leak.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, especially in confined spaces. Last month, a New Jersey woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning while napping in her car, according to this Inquisitr report.
All of the North Mac schools will be closed tomorrow while staff attempt to air out the building. School officials are asking parents to keep a close eye on their kids for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Carbon monoxide is tricky. They can appear fine and then have a rebound a couple of hours later.”
[Image courtesy of: Agility Recovery]