CO Poisoning Scare Prompts Ga. School Evacuation

ATLANTA — As many as 42 students and seven adults at Finch Elementary were taken to a local hospital Monday due to potentially lethal levels of carbon monoxide (CO) seeping into the air. Additionally, 500 more people were forced to evacuate the premises.

Firefighters discovered unsafe levels of CO near a furnace at the school with a reading of 1,700 parts per million, the Associated Press reports. School officials continue to investigate what caused the leak, stating that the issue started with a faulty boiler. The boiler passed an inspection in 2011 and was not due for another check until next year.

On Tuesday, students were sent to nearby Kennedy Middle School to attend classes.

Finch Elementary did not have any CO detectors installed at the school, and there are no code requirements for such equipment in K-12 schools in the state. Connecticut requires detectors in all public and private schools and Maryland mandates detectors for newly constructed and remodeled schools.

CO is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. The toxic substance can render a person unconscious or dead, depending on the concentration that may be within a space.

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