Students hospitalized after carbon monoxide leak in Four Corners school

Posted at: 11/18/2013 1:40 PM
Updated at: 11/18/2013 6:17 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Elementary school students in the Four Corners area of Utah were rushed to the hospital Monday when their school filled with deadly carbon monoxide.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 travelled to Montezuma Creek, UT as the emergency unfolded, and found the response was swift.

The first sign of the danger was a call to 911 from Montezuma Creek Elementary School about strange smells.

Then a second call to report that students were complaining of dizziness and nausea.

Those are hallmark signs of breathing in too much carbon monoxide.

According to emergency officials, there was a problem with the water heater's exhaust system. The water heater was turned off and the school was evacuated.

Emergency officials say 44 people were taken to the hospital. All but two are expected to release by this evening. Two were flown by helicopter.

The rest of the kids were bused over to white horse high school, and eventually were picked up by their parents.

Leaders of the school district say they're grateful they were prepared.

"Each individual school went through a detailed plan and just grateful that we went through the process," said Bill Boyle, San Juan County School district board President.

These new plans went into effect just last week and the district is pleased at how the school reacted today.

"The response was dramatic and hopefully our efforts were able to keep kids safe," said Boyle.

The school district plans to review the situation to see what they can improve on in the future.

"We will certainly look at installing monitoring systems," said Superintendent Douglas Wright.

KOB got an update Monday evening that 44 people were taken to the hospital. All but two are expected to release by this evening. Montezuma Creek Elementary School plans to reopen for classes tuesday.