Scranton School Cleared out by Fumes

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SCRANTON -- Some students were sent to the hospital after a mysterious smell filled a Scranton school. Those students were sent to the hospital to be checked out after a smell filled the West Scranton Intermediate school.

Teachers at West Scranton Intermediate on Fellows Street noticed something was wrong when some students started complaining of headaches and nausea Wednesday morning.

The entire school was evacuated for about an hour while emergency crews tracked down the source of the smell.

Ambulances swarmed to the school for reports of a few dozen students who were sick from a mysterious gasoline smell inside the school.

EMTs started checking the kids inside the ambulances and at a separate triage down the street at West Scranton High School.

Scranton firefighters found the culprit -- a diesel forklift being used in an ongoing construction project at the school was parked close to an open door and the school's air duct system.

"The fumes got sucked in, dissipated through the school, kids started smelling it. and, you know, it can cause some nausea, it can cause some headache. Some people are more sensitive than others, so, as a precaution, we evacuated the school," explained Scranton Fire Chief Pat DeSarno.

Some panicked parents showed up looking for their sick kids. Some students suffering symptoms were sent to the hospital to be checked out but were expected to be OK.

"As a parent, like I said I put six children through this school myself, I'd be a little worried, concerned, not worried. I'd be concerned, I'd have my child checked out, maybe take them to your own doctor, watch that tonight, maybe they're not presenting some symptoms like nausea, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, whatever."
The Scranton Fire Department and UGI checked the air quality inside the school and after about an hour, it was safe for students to go back inside.

Scranton's superintendent tells us 26 students were checked out, eight of them were taken to the hospital but all are expected to be OK.

Teachers tell us the construction equipment that was the source of the smell was there for an ongoing energy improvement project.


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