Dozens of students hospitalized after carbon-monoxide leak at Beaumont middle school

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter, Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

BEAUMONT, Texas - A Beaumont middle school will remain closed Friday after a carbon-monoxide leak sent dozens to the hospital.

It happened just after 10 a.m. at Marshall Middle School in the 6400 block of Gladys Ave.

The school was promptly evacuated, and as many as 179 students and staff members were checked out by paramedics.  Many students complained of being light-headed.  “This one girl had her hands up, her eyes were moving around and she was shaking, then she just fell,” said student Dante Bolden.

Fire officials said the school does not have a carbon-monoxide detector. Schools are not required to have one.

Thirty-three students and two adults were taken to Baptist Hospital, while 68 other students were taken to CHRISTUS Southeast
Texas St. Elizabeth, the hospitals confirmed. Victory Hospital received 34 patients.

"We had a lot of students with light-headedness, nausea, vomiting. A couple of teachers, as well as students, passing out," said Dr. Jeff
Thompson with Baptist Hospital. "We put children on high-flow oxygen via mask. They've been doing very well with that."

Thompson said there were no severe or life-threatening injuries.

One mother of a hospitalized seventh-grade student said her daughter was experiencing headache, dizziness and nausea.

"I saw it on the news, but at the same time I received a text and a call from my daughter," Amber Johnson said. "She kept me updated that they were moved to the gym where they were being observed...so I kind of kept up-to-date until she made me aware it was time to get her."

The majority of the other students were evacuated to Beaumont Westbrook High School, where they received treatment if necessary, then waited to get picked up by parents.  “I said, 'Thank God' when I found out my son was OK, and I said a little prayer for the other students,” said parent Tamae Coleman.
         
Beaumont Fire Department officials said preliminary information shows the leak may have started from a boiler then spread to two main hallways. Officials said they're unsure when the leak started. State boiler inspector crews will arrive at the school Thursday evening to check out the boiler and determine whether or not the school is safe for students. In the meantime, Beaumont ISD has canceled classes for Friday.

It takes two to three hours to show symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning at these levels, officials said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2