Middle School Students Treated After Sand Springs Carbon Monoxide Leak
TULSA, Oklahoma - Sand Springs Public Schools has called off classes again at Clyde Boyd Middle School and the 6th-grade center after a carbon monoxide leak made dozens of kids sick Monday. At least two had to spend the night in hospitals.
There was much more to this than we first reported Monday when all of the students went home shortly after the school was evacuated. A lot of parents took their children in for treatment and a couple were admitted to treat carbon monoxide poisoning.
“They had kids everywhere and they were getting them in so quickly, so they got her in and did a blood draw to see what her levels were and after they did that, they got her on some oxygen,” said parent Jenny Deramo.
More than 50 children were treated for symptoms like nausea and dizziness. St. Francis treated 45 patients and St. John's clinics treated 10. Some went elsewhere or talked separately to poison control.
"They asked if he was vomiting or dizzy and I said no, so they said that we would be fine," said parent Kim Manual.
The school district said between 11:15 and 12:58, five students went home sick Monday. Between 1:15 to 1:35, seven more students got sick and that's when staff started searching for a common cause.
The investigation found a single heater malfunctioning, and a separate natural gas leak. That's prompted a full inspection of piping and plans to install a new heater.
The district said carbon monoxide detectors would be installed Tuesday at Clyde Boyd and soon at the other schools.
"I would like to see detectors installed, like most parents would I'm sure. That would have alerted them quicker than trying to piece together things. But once they knew, it was handled appropriately," said parent Wynter Ribordy.
Many parents are relieved, especially after discovering just how many children were sick.
"I don't think any of us got the severity of what was going on, that wasn't probably communicated very clearly and that would have had an impact on parents making decisions to take their kids in earlier,” said Deramo. “A lot of parents waited until late in the evening because they didn't realize how serious it was."
Tuesday, students were allowed back in to get belongings. Clyde Boyd and the 6th-grade center will be closed again Wednesday.
Sand Springs Public Schools released the following statement:
This statement is an update for parents and patrons concerning the equipment failure that led to the closure of Clyde Boyd Middle School yesterday and today.
Sand Springs Public Schools is committed to keeping our students safe and the administration would like to update parents and patrons about the issues that occurred at Clyde Boyd Middle School and what is taking place today.
We are deeply bothered by yesterday’s situation and are working diligently to correct the problems and resume classes.
Prior to 11:15 yesterday morning, two students were dismissed for a cause unrelated to this incident. Five students went home between 11:15 a.m. and 12:58 p.m. Between 1:15 p.m. and 1:35 p.m. seven additional students reported being sick. At this point the investigation for cause began. The Sand Springs Fire Department and ONG were notified and responded.
Due to a single heating unit malfunction, high levels of carbon monoxide were detected primarily in the main hallway of the 7th and 8th-grade building. Both buildings were evacuated, then the SSFD inspected the 6th Grade Center. There was no evidence of the presence of carbon monoxide in the 6th Grade Center and 6th graders were allowed to re-enter their separate building. After the gymnasium was cleared the 7th and 8th graders were allowed to re-enter the gymnasium.
During our inspections, ONG found a small gas leak unrelated to the heating unit malfunction. The gas was immediately shut off. The district brought in outside contractors who specialize in working on gas leaks and heating unit-related issues. All of the lines in the building are being inspected and any leaks repaired. It is our hope ONG will complete another inspection this afternoon or evening.
The malfunctioning heating unit will be not be reactivated and will be replaced as soon as a replacement unit can be delivered.
When the gas is turned back on, our specialists will be checking all remaining heating units for carbon monoxide leaks to ensure the building is safe for students and staff occupancy and for school to resume.
We will be installing carbon monoxide detectors, first at Clyde Boyd Middle School today, and then across the district. The district has ordered carbon monoxide handheld devices for each site and will distribute them immediately upon arrival. The hand-held detectors will be used to monitor the building daily during walk-arounds.
We are completing a full review of yesterday's events and are still gathering information. It is our standard practice to review and revise all procedures as needed regarding student safety.
We will continue to keep parents and patrons updated as we know more. We have not yet determined if school will be in session tomorrow. We apologize for any inconvenience this incident has caused and appreciate your continued support and patience.