Thirty elementary students at a north suburban school were hospitalized after fumes from a small kiln fire made them sick.
The fire broke out in an art department classroom at Antioch Upper Grade School, officials said. A teacher placed a blanket on the fire in hopes of extinguishing it, but the blanket was not flame resistant, according to a release from the Antioch Fire Department.
The teacher evacuated students in the classroom and pulled a fire alarm. Firefighters arrived about 8:40 a.m., extinguished the fire and checked for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and other contaminants, the release said.
About an hour later, the department received a call that students were feeling ill. Fire officials called for a second alarm just after 11 a.m. for more ambulances to perform evaluations and possible transports.
Thirty students were transported to area hospitals with non-critical injuries, the release said.
Mark Ostap, assistant superintendent for District 34, said no toxic materials were in the kiln at the time of the fire, but as a precaution, a fire marshal ordered the evacuation of the school at 800 Highview Drive. School officials later decided to release all students early.
Fire Chief John Nixon said the incident demonstrated the importance of fire and evacuation drills.
"The students and staff did a great job of quickly and safely evacuating the building and following the emergency plan," he said in a statement.