29 students hospitalized after gas odor at Wheaton school - FOX 32 News Chicago

29 students hospitalized after gas odor at Wheaton school

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WHEATON, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Twenty-nine children were taken to hospitals after a gas leak at a west suburban middle school on Monday.

The students at Edison Middle School, 1125 S. Wheaton Ave. in Wheaton, were taken to hospitals as a precaution after complaining of nausea and headaches, school and fire officials said.

“Some students reported smelling some strange odors around lunchtime,” said Erica Loiacono, spokeswoman for Community Unit School District 200.

Wheaton Fire Department crews arrived about noon, and found and stopped a minor gas leak in a science classroom, fire officials said in a release.

While firefighters were there, they learned about a burning odor in another area of the school building, officials said.

The building was immediately evacuated. Firefighters found the burning odor was coming from a ventilation motor, which was experiencing a problem because of a power outage in the area, fire officials said.

Some students who had been near the original natural gas leak began to complain of headaches and lightheadedness, officials said.

Paramedics treated 38 patients, 29 of whom were taken to hospital, the fire department said. Nine others were released to a guardian.

No one was seriously hurt, the fire department said.

As of 1:20 p.m., fire authorities had given the school the all clear to resume classes, but power remained out, Interim Superintendent Faith Dahlquist said.

Because of the power outage, all after-school activities have been canceled for Monday, but school is scheduled to resume at normal time Tuesday, Loiacono said.

The power outage was not related to the gas leak, she said. It affected the School Service Center and Edison, knocking out all district email and phones.

Earlier this year, the Board of Education approved the purchase of a back-up generator to ensure “continuous access to communication services,” Loiacano said. The work is scheduled to be completed by Thursday.

“We understand that some families attempted to call or email our schools and District office and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience,” she said.

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