SPRINGFIELD - A total of 27 Springfield Public School students were treated Thursday for possible carbon monoxide exposure, after several students fell ill in the school auditorium around 9 a.m.
Three students were taken by Springfield ambulance to the Mayo Clinic Health System, Springfield, and others arrived with parents after being checked out by ambulance staff at the Springfield Community Center, where students and staff were evacuated following the outbreak of illness.
Springfield Police Chief John Nicholson said the first call came in at 9:42 a.m. about a number of ill students in the school auditorium, where 5th and 6th grade students were rehearsing for a music program that was to be given Thursday evening.
Springfield Ambulance transported three students who showed signs of possible carbon monoxide exposure to the Mayo Clinic Health System, Springfield, while school administration decided to evacuate students and staff to the Springfield Community Center, about a mile east of the school. The school district's total enrollment is 587 students.
At the community center, Springfield Ambulance personnel assessed other students', telling several that they should consult with their physicians. A total of 27 students were admitted to the local hospital.
Nicholson said carbon monoxide is suspected to have made the students ill. Richert's Bus Service Inc. transported students and staff to the community center, where tables were set up to account for them and begin a check of their vital signs by Springfield Ambulance employees.
Students' parents were called to pick up their children at the community center, manned by Springfield Police and Ambulance and Lamberton Police.
The Springfield Fire and Utilities Departments plus Centerpoint Energy were called. Firefighters ensured the school was completely evacuated and locked. Utilities workers and Centerpoint Energy personnel entered the school to determine what levels of carbon monoxide or other gases may be present in the school, Michelson said.
"We have this all spelled out in our emergency plan. It all went very smoothly for the entire community. Teachers led students out of the building and to the community center, carrying their emergency plans binders with them," Springfield City Manager Mac Tilberg said. "If anything, was learned today, it's that it's better to err on the side of caution."