At approximately 12:00 p.m. on June 2, 2014 the Wheaton Fire Department was dispatched to a reported natural gas leak at Edison Middle School (1125 South Wheaton Avenue).
Upon arrival, fire crews identified a minor natural gas leak in a science class room which was quickly stabilized.
The exact cause of the gas leak is unknown. While on the scene, fire personnel were advised of a burning odor in another area of the school facility. Fire personnel along with school staff, immediately evacuated the building.
Firefighters quickly investigated the source of the odor and identified a problem with a ventilation motor which was caused by a partial loss of building electricity from Commonwealth Edison. The odor problem was also quickly stabilized by fire personnel.
During the operations related to the natural gas leak and odor, numerous students who had been evacuated but were originally in the area of the natural gas leak reported minor symptoms such as a headache and light headedness. Emergency medical personnel were on the scene and began assessing the patients.
A total of thirty eight patients were treated with twenty nine being transported to area hospitals and nine patients being released on the scene to a guardian.
It was determined that the illness complaints were from students who became irritated by the natural gas smell. While natural gas is generally a non-toxic product with flammability being its’ greatest hazard, it can cause a headache and light headedness with some people. The incident did not cause any life threatening injuries.
The building was secured by the Fire Department and students were released to safely return to their classrooms.
The Fire Department and Community Unit School District 200 officials worked together to assist students and parents throughout the incident. The Wheaton Fire Department was assisted on the scene by the Wheaton Police Department and numerous neighboring fire agencies.
The above information was updated at 8:12 p.m.
Community Unit School District 200 sent out the following press release just before 4 p.m. Monday:
This afternoon around lunchtime, the neighborhood around our School Service Center and Edison Middle School experienced a power outage. When our School Service Center experiences a power outage, all District email and phones are not in service.
We understand that it is important to be able to communicate with families at all times. However, this particular situation was out of our control.
This past spring, our Board of Education approved for the purchase of a back-up power generator to ensure that we have continuous access to communication services.
This work is scheduled to be completed by this Thursday and starting next school year, our back-up services will be completely in place.
We understand that some families attempted to call or email our schools and District office and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.
Also today, students at Edison Middle School were evacuated at the advice of the Wheaton Fire Department. Some students reported smelling some strange odors around lunchtime.
Upon further investigation by the fire department, it was determined that two separate incidents occurred. First, there was a small gas leak contained to one classroom. Second, due to the power outage in the area, an air conditioner malfunctioned and was emitting a burning odor.
Some students reported symptoms of headaches and feeling lightheaded. In total, 30 students were transported to area hospitals as a precaution. An additional nine students were treated on the scene and released to their parents.
About an hour after being evacuated from the school, the fire department determined the school was safe for all students and staff to return to the building.
However, due to the continued power outage at Edison, all after school activities at Edison were cancelled for today. School remains in sessiontomorrow, June 3rd.
Original Article: Twenty-five Wheaton middle school students were taken to the hospital Monday afternoon after complaining of headaches and light-headness following a gas leak and power outage that "caused an air conditioner to emit a burning odor," according to the Chicago Tribune.
The gas leak and power outage occurred at Edison Middle School, 1125 South Wheaton Avenue, and all students had been re-admitted to the school by 1:20 p.m., according to the article.
The school's website reported that due to the power outage, the School Service Center was without phone or email service.
Read more on the Chicago Tribune.
Patch will update with more information as it becomes available. To stay up-to-date on Wheaton news: