Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide wafted through Finch Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia, poisoning 43 children and 10 adults, reports ABC News.
According to fire department officials, the odorless, colorless gas leaked from a faulty furnace. After receiving a call early that morning that several students and faculty felt sick, the AFD sent in a hazardous material crew.
While no children were found unconscious, their findings were enough to strike fear in the hearts of any parent:
“The highest levels were near the furnace, but they were high throughout the school,” Capt. Marian McDaniel, the fire department spokeswoman, told ABC News.com.
Gas levels peaked at 1,700 parts per million, the highest fire officials “had ever seen,” according to McDaniel.
See ABC News report below:
One parent described a chaotic scene with children stretched out on the floor being asked were they breathing.
See student reactions in NBC News report below:
The entire school was evacuated and approximately 500 children were checked for illness at a local hospital. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. It may also lead to death.
Finch Elementary School is located in Southwest Atlanta and is 99% Black. According to the AJC, the school does not have carbon monoxide detectors and the state does not require that it have any.