16 Sickened by Fumes at Colo. Middle School


The smell that made more than a dozen students sick at Blevins Middle School on Friday is being blamed on chemicals from an art class and a science lab storage area mixing in the air.

The students started reporting a strange odor at about 12:15 p.m. Officials evacuated the school.

Thirteen students were taken to a hospital. Two others were treated at the scene by firefighters and paramedics.

Patrick Love, spokesman for Poudre Fire Authority, said an adult was also sickened and taken to the hospital.

Poudre School District and Poudre Fire Authority spent the weekend ventilating the school and investigating the source of the smell.

Officials believe the odor came from non-toxic sulfur-based compound, which smells like rotten eggs, in a classroom. The investigation indicates that when the school’s ventilation system malfunctioned on Friday afternoon, fumes from this compound could have combined with other vapors from typical classroom chemicals in the adjacent science lab. This created an airborne irritant similar to strong cleaning agents.

As a safety precaution, Poudre School District said it removed the chemicals in question, ventilated the entire building and hired a private cleaning company to sanitize the four affected classrooms.

Classes resumed on Monday.

Poudre Schools is reviewing all of its science lab chemicals and ventilation systems, according to Danielle Clark with the Poudre School District.

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