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Sand Springs installing carbon monoxide detectors after scare at middle school

Posted at 3:17 PM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 20:28:37-05

Sand Springs Public Schools said classes at Clyde Boyd Middle School will be not be in session on Wednesday after a carbon monoxide scare.

The district issued another statement today after classes were cut short on Monday and out of session Tuesday while a malfunctioning heater and others were inspected and replaced. Carbon monoxide detectors also are being installed, according to the district.

SSPS said five students went home on Monday and an additional seven reported feeling sick, so officials began to investigate and called the fire department and Oklahoma Natural Gas. 

The statement said the presence of carbon monoxide was detected in the building, as well as an unrelated gas leak. 

One student who ended up in the hospital was Bella Deramo. 

"Most kids, and my daughter included, started with a really bad headache," Jenny Deramo, Bella's mother said. "She said it was like a migraine."

Jenny said Bella's carbon monoxide level in her blood was at a 6, and doctors consider levels of 3 to 5 high. 

Bella's mother said they were not the only ones at the hospital from the school.

"They were joking as they took us from the E.R. over to the hospital to admit us that it was the Sand Springs parade because we were not the only ones being admitted at the time."

Jenny questioned why the school didn't have detectors to begin with. 

According to the State Department of Education, schools are not required to have carbon monoxide monitors.

"Certainly if you're going to take the calculated risk to not install them because it is not required by code, you need to be hyper-aware of the risks and signs of poisoning."

Parents now demand action.

"I hope this is a rally and call to our educators and to the State Board of Education to make this a requirement in all schools."

After the incident, school districts across Green County said they are taking extra precautions to make sure they have adequate detectors that are in working order.

Here is the statement from the school's spokesperson, released Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Due to a single heating unit malfunction, high levels of carbon monoxide were detected primarily in the main hallway of the 7th and 8th-grade building. Both buildings were evacuated, then the SSFD inspected the 6th Grade Center.   There was no evidence of the presence of carbon monoxide in the 6th Grade Center and 6th graders were allowed to re-enter their separate building. After the gymnasium was cleared the 7th and 8th graders were allowed to re-enter the gymnasium. 

During our inspections, ONG found a small gas leak unrelated to the heating unit malfunction. The gas was immediately shut off. The district brought in outside contractors who specialize in working on gas leaks and heating unit-related issues. All of the lines in the building are being inspected and any leaks repaired. It is our hope ONG will complete another inspection this afternoon or evening. 

The malfunctioning heating unit will be not be reactivated and will be replaced as soon as a replacement unit can be delivered. 

When the gas is turned back on, our specialists will be checking all remaining heating units for carbon monoxide leaks to ensure the building is safe for students and staff occupancy and for school to resume. 

We will be installing carbon monoxide detectors, first at Clyde Boyd Middle School today, and then across the district. The district has ordered carbon monoxide handheld devices for each site and will distribute them immediately upon arrival.  The hand-held detectors will be used to monitor the building daily during walk-arounds. 

We are completing a full review of yesterday's events and are still gathering information. It is our standard practice to review and revise all procedures as needed regarding student safety. 

We will continue to keep parents and patrons updated as we know more. We have not yet determined if school will be in session tomorrow.  We apologize for any inconvenience this incident has caused and appreciate your continued support and patience. 

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