FRASER (WWJ) – Police say about a dozen students and two teachers were taken to hospitals for evaluation and treatment after they were sickened by an “unknown airborne inhalant” at school.
HAZMAT and emergency crews from Fraser and Warren were called to the scene, Thursday afternoon, at the Arts Academy in the Woods near Masonic and Utica roads in Fraser on a report of what was initially believed to be carbon monoxide poisoning.
Warren Fire Commissioner Wilburt “Skip” McAdams told WWJ Newsradio 950 all of the victims were conscious when they were taken from the scene by EMS.
“As far as we know this is just a medical evaluation and treatment, and as far as we know there are no life-threatening at this moment injuries,” he said. “However, there is a lot of concern because of, of course, they are children.”
According to investigators, in two classrooms on the top floor of the school, around 12 kids and two teachers were having trouble breathing, began vomiting and felt very lethargic. They were taken to three area hospitals.
The school was evacuated and closed for the day. Principal Mike Mitchell also canceled classes for Friday, he said, with plans to take apartment the ventilation system.
Police cleared the scene before 4 p.m., but said they’re still trying to figure out what sickened the group. A team tested the air twice inside the school and no carbon monoxide was detected.
Police do believe it was something in the air, and they’re investigating reports that it may have been pepper spray. Investigators blood samples taken from the patients may also offer a clue.
(Note: Fire Commissioner McAdams initially told WWJ that around 20 kids were hospitalized. That information was later corrected by police).