— -- More than 170 students and teachers needed to be treated today in Beaumont, Texas, after falling sick due to an apparent carbon monoxide leak at a middle school.
"We believe that it's possibly carbon monoxide exposure," Beaumont Fire-Rescue Captain Earl White said during a news conference today. "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 said that 787 students and 70 staff members attend Marshall Middle School. He did not say how many of the 179 patients were students.
He said that emergency crews were called around 10:30 a.m. when one child became unconscious.
When emergency crews arrived at the school, he said, people were experiencing nausea, vomiting and headaches.
White said that the leak had been narrowed down to a boiler in the facility and that state inspectors would be investigating. Although the leak was confined to the main building, White said other buildings on the school campus would be inspected as well.
The school did not have carbon monoxide detectors, he said.
In a statement on the Beaumont Independent School District website, school officials said: "At this time, there are no reports of any serious or fatal injuries. ... Safety is the top priority for Beaumont [Independent School District.] The district, in coordination with state inspectors and the Beaumont Fire Marshall, are working together to evaluate and remedy the problem. "
Classes are canceled for Friday.