New Brockton, AL – New Brockton Schools in Coffee County, Alabama, were closed Friday after students showed signs of carbon monoxide poisoning Thursday.
The Alabama Department of Public Health is helping in the investigation of this case. 4 New Brockton students suffered nausea, headaches and dizziness yesterday in gym class and were then sent to Enterprise Medical Center.
There were tests done that showed high levels of carbon monoxide in their systems. What was the first thought to be heat stress was much worse, leading to 4 children being sent to the hospital.
“All students were immediately evacuated from the gymnasium and a sweep was made to check for elevated levels of carbon monoxide,”
Director of Coffee County Emergency Agency, James Brown said.
Coffee County Emergency Management made several sweeps for carbon monoxide, but none were discovered.
So how did these students end up with carbon monoxide in their system? That’s what emergency management is trying to figure out.
“We’re looking for those similarities, Do they go to the same church? Do they go to the same party? Do they visit a house in particular that everybody goes to after school? Were looking for all of those types of similarities,” Brown said.
Then last night another 4 New Brockton students showed up to the emergency room with similar signs if carbon monoxide levels. One parent saying that their child who was affected had no connection to any of the other students.
“This morning we have just completed our third sweep of the school and we have tested all buses to ensure there are no leaks of any carbon monoxide at the school. At this time we do not think that the exposure to this carbon monoxide happened at the school,” Brown said.
Peggy Hagler, Southeast District Alabama Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator told WTVY no cause has been determines at this point. Hagler says they don’t re-test the students after their initial diagnosis but take every precaution necessary.
“There safety is our highest priority and so if we have to shut down school for a day in order to make sure they are safe were going to do it, even if nothing showed up at the school i always err on the side of caution,” Brown said.
All students have been released by emergency medical staff at this time. Further testing of the school will be done this weekend to ensure safety. And interviews are also taking place with the students.
School officials have not returned our phone calls and said they have no comment at this point. But the emergency management director says the schools are expected to get back to normal schedules Monday morning.