Carbon monoxide poisoning sickens dozens at elementary school

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ATLANTA —

Finch Elementary School in southwest Atlanta was evacuated Monday morning after dozens were sickened by carbon monoxide.

Initial reports were that  four students and two adults were found unconscious at the school. The Atlanta Fire Department now says all people were alert when they arrived around 8:30 a.m.

Air tests showed the carbon monoxide level in the school was 1,700 parts per million, the highest levels the Fire Department has ever seen. The Fire Department said this is the result of a faulty furnace.

The Fire Department said at least 49 people total were treated for symptoms, including 6 adults and 43 children. Two adults, a teacher and a cafeteria worker, were taken to Atlanta Medical Center and some students were taken to Hughes Spalding Hospital.

Around 11 a.m., Hughes Spalding said it had treated and released 24 students.

Grady Medical Center treated 10 adults.

Daniels said all of the sickened students were in the same classroom.

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The school is located at 1114 Avon Avenue Southwest. Around 500 students attend the school. All students were evaluated before being taken to Brown Middle School.

Fire crews swept the school to check current CO levels. The fire Department confirmed there were no CO detectors in the school.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. on Monday. He commended school principal Carol Evans for her handling of the situation.

Davis said fire marshals walked the school with CO meters and confirmed the presence of carbon monoxide. He believes the issue was with a boiler, which passed state inspection last year.

Davis said students will be dismissed at their normal time, but parents can pick them up before 2:30 p.m. if necessary. He said bus riding students will be taken to their normal bus stops, students who walk will be returned to Finch Elementary and parents who drive their children will need to pick them up at Brown Middle School.

The school is expected to be cleared to reopen for classes on Tuesday.

Davis said a discussion about carbon monoxide detectors in schools has already taken place.


Channel 2 has several crews at the scene and the hospitals. Watch Channel 2 Action News beginning at 4 p.m. for live updates.

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