22 kids sickened in Blue Island school

March 17, 2011 6:40:59 PM PDT
Twenty-two students and nine adults at Paul Revere Intermediate School in south suburban Blue Island were rushed to the hospital Thursday after getting sick in class.

All students, staff and personnel were evacuated after fumes from a chemical spill spread through the school, according to school officials. Officials say it was a level 3 hazmat situation.

"We believe it's bleach and a Drano incident, and it created a very strong bleach smell which caused some of the janitors to get sick and a couple teachers and the kids," said Principal Donald Peloquien, Paul Revere Intermediate School.

Many parents and family members arrived at the school to check on their children.

"I came outside and all these firemen came out here, and I was wondering if my child is OK," said parent Florence Smith.

"I saw gases and everything. When we were going to lunch, they didn't let us inside the school. We had to go the park right there and wait until the gas, it didn't smell that bad anymore," said student Jose Villanueva.

"It smelled like chlorine...My teacher almost threw up," said student Jonathan Daniels

The principal was among those taken to the hospital. He was later released.

"We want to be safe. Student safety and staff safety is our first concern," said Peloquien. "We're still figuring that out."

"She was having trouble breathing. She already suffers [from] asthma," said one woman whose niece was hospitalized.

Officials say the fumes are unrelated to new construction taking place on an addition to the school. There will be no school Friday.

The incident is still under investigation.