Dozens Exposed To Carbon Monoxide At Robertson Co. School
by Chris Cannon
ROBERTSON COUNTY, Tenn. – Approximately 60 students have been sickened from exposure to carbon monoxide at a school in Robertson County.
Jim Bellis with Robertson County Schools said the exposure affected students at Jo Byrns High School in Cedar Hill.
He said the gas entered the building after school maintenance powered up a gas pump inside the basement to remove water that had collected after it rained this morning. The pump was near an air intake and the carbon monoxide leaked into the school. The exposure mainly came in the locker room and in a hallway.
"And it's first because apparently it's something they've done in the past, without any issue. But that had been curtailed and that is not going to happen again," Bellis said.
Students reported feeling sick and groggy about an hour after the pump was started.
"I mean you could smell it, and some of the kids were falling asleep. They were getting really tired and my friend Kylie was getting a headache," said student Piper Walton.
All of the students were taken to the gym to be checked out by emergency personnel, but none were taken to the hospital.
Two teens were treated for asthma issues and five others were treated for anxiety problems due to the commotion. Parents were notified to pick up their children. They also given notes explaining if their child continued to feel ill to take them to a doctor for treatment.
Jo Byrns High School in Robertson County houses 7th through 12th grade students and did not have carbon monoxide detectors inside the school.
This is the second time in a month students at Middle Tennessee school were overcome by the odorless gas.
Back in January dozens of students at Drexel Preparatory School in Nashville were sickened after a hole in the school's heater leaked CO.
Metro Councilman Scott Davis is working on legislation that would make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in new construction that has gas service.
"And I'm trying to work out some legislation from Metro legal about current Metro school and Metro buildings to have it required too," Davis said.
The Nashville Fire Department is currently looking at who such an ordinance would work. The city's attorney is also going over the legalities of such a bill.
Davis hopes to have the legislation on the council floor by spring.