Over 170 students and teachers if a Beaumont, Texas, middle school needed medical attention Thursday after they fell sick due to a carbon monoxide leak on campus, ABC News reported. About 787 students and 70 staff members attend Marshall Middle School and those who fell sick reportedly complained of nausea, vomiting and headaches, including one child who fell unconscious.
Emergency crews were called in around 10:30 a.m. Thursday after the student fell unconscious. Beaumont Fire-Rescue Captain Earl White said at a news conference Thursday that they had narrowed down the leak to a boiler in the facility and added that state inspectors would be investigating the incident, ABC News reported. He said the school did not have carbon monoxide detectors.
“We believe that it's possibly carbon monoxide exposure,” White said during the conference, according to ABC News, adding: “We got [an] initial elevated reading in the main building. We took action. ... We evacuated the facility. ... Initially 12 were transported to various hospitals for treatment. To this point, we've treated a total of about 179, with 69 being transported to various facilities for medical evaluation and treatment.”
White added that inspectors will also be investigating other buildings on campus. Classes at the school were cancelled for Friday.
According to a report by local news network KFDM Southeast Texas, Christus Hospital in Beaumont received at least 68 patients while 46 students and two adults were sent to Baptist Hospital. The ER at Victory Medical Center also received at least 33 patients. However, the report added that none of the students or adults were hospitalized.
The Beaumont Independent School District (BISD) referred to the incident in a statement released Thursday and said: “At this time, there are no reports of any serious or fatal injuries. Safety is the top priority for Beaumont ISD. The district, in coordination with state inspectors and the Beaumont fire marshall, are working together to evaluate and remedy the problem. BISD will continue to work with all agencies and use all resources to ensure the safety of the students and staff,” adding: “Beaumont ISD will take as much time as needed to ensure the building is safe for students and staff to return.”
Cameron Bouillon, a sixth-grade student at the school, told KFDM in another report: “I felt like I had a headache but it wasn't that bad but now it's worse,” adding: “And then the announcements came on and said that everybody needed to go to the new gym and then they came in there and said there was a gas leak.”
Bodo Brauer, a family physician, told KFDM that a person exposed to carbon monoxide should seek immediate medical assistance. “Carbon monoxide is a very poisonous and dangerous gas and it depends on how much is inhaled. And get some laboratory stuff done to see how serious and how severe the inhalation has been and then depending on the severity that determines on how aggressive the treatment has to be,” he said.