Student and faculty evacuate Southwest Atlanta school

Photo Credit: ABC News

Finch Elementary school remains closed today and students there reported to Kennedy Middle School for classes after a carbon monoxide leak at the school forced an evacuation Monday.

Despite the change in venue, many parents are saying the have no intention of sending their children to school, no matter where classes are held.

Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide were found at Finch Elementary School in Atlanta, poisoning 43 children and 10 adults. Authorities first learned of the carbon monoxide because children and teachers were fainting at the school.

Officials from the Atlanta Fire Department said the odorless, colorless gas came from a furnace leak. After receiving a call early that morning that several students and faculty felt sick, the AFD sent in a hazardous material crew.

“The highest levels were near the furnace, but they were high throughout the school,” Capt. Marian McDaniel, fire department spokeswoman, told ABC
Gas levels peaked at 1,700 parts per million, the highest fire officials “had ever seen,” according to McDaniel.

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. In extreme circumstances carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.

Finch Elementary School is located in Southwest Atlanta and is 99 percent Black, with 1 percent being “dual race,” according to the Fulton County schools website. The site also reports that 94 percent of the student at Finch are eligible for free lunch. The AJC reports that the school does not have carbon monoxide detectors and the state does not require them.

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