Carbon Monixide Leak Leads to Evacuation of Utah Elementary School

Nov 18, 2013

A southern Utah woman was hospitalized Monday after carbon monoxide gas seeped into an elementary school.

Carbon monoxide gas seeped into a southern Utah elementary school Monday, sickening many and hospitalizing two.
Credit Department of Health and Human Services

Monday morning, 280 students and faculty members evacuated Montezuma Creek Elementary School after many became sick.

About 50 people were given medical treatment on-site and a student and faculty member in more serious condition were flown by medical helicopter to an area hospital.

"This morning, soon after school started, there was an assembly in the school; many students and faculty members began to feel dizzy and nauseous and became ill," said Superintendent Douglas Wright. "So we evacuated them from the school, not knowing what was going on, and it just got worse and worse as more and more people became ill."

A water heater exhaust pipe had dislodged from the back of a water heater in the school, filling the room with carbon monoxide which flowed into the school, causing the sickness.

The building has since been cleared of carbon monoxide and school is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

"There will be a public information session held at Whitehorse High School Tuesday in their auditorium explaining to the public and parents what has happened and assuring them that it won't happen again," said Wright.

The hospitalized faculty member remains in medical care.

Taylor Halversen is a senior at Utah State University, majoring in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts.