Twenty-two students were taken to hospitals when they were sickened by fumes from an earlier fire at the grade school in north suburban Antioch this morning, officials said.Emergency crews were called to the Antioch Upper Grade School at 800 Highview Dr. around 10 a.m. after students reported feeling ill, according to Antioch Fire Asst. Chief Chris Lienhardt.
Twenty-two students who were sickened by fumes from an earlier kiln fire were transported to area hospitals, said Lienhardt.
None of the injuries are serious and the majority suffered “respiratory problems’’ from the smell, Lienhardt said.
The 6th through 8th grade students are between the ages of 11 and 13, Lienhardt said.
No school staffers were injured and the school has been closed for the day after the two separate, but related incidents, which began at 8:40 a.m. when firefighters responded to a report of a kiln fire in the art department.
“The teacher, in an effort to extinguish the fire, put a blanket on it, which caused the fire to grow a little,’’ Lienhardt said.
Firefighters put out the fire, which caused no injuries, and the school was evacuated. The kiln was being used to make pottery, according to the assistant chief. Levels of carbon monoxide were checked but were not present.
But shortly before 10 a.m. they returned because several students in all different areas of the school reported feeling ill from the smell of the fire.
“The number of students continued to grow and we evacuated the building a second time,’’ said the assistant chief. “The smell of the previous incident was pretty much what triggered some respiratory problems.’’
The scene was cleared about noon, he said.
School has been dismissed early for the day, according to a message to parents from Antioch Upper Grade School Principal Stacy Graff.
The message to parents from the principal said students were being dismissed in stages to make the dismissal as orderly as possible and that a staging area was set up outside the school for parents to pick up their children. Parents were asked to contact the main office at (847) 838-8301 with email@example.com