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All-clear given at Kahaluu school after odor sickens dozens

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:03 p.m. HST, Apr 03, 2014


An all-clear was given at Kahaluu Elementary after students were evacuated and treated at nearby hospitals on Thursday morning following reports of a noxious odor.

Hawaii Fire Department spokesman David Jenkins said investigators were not able to identify or find the source of the chemical odor. Air tests were performed around the campus before an all-clear was given at 1:35 p.m.

A state Department of Education statement said the school was closed at noon after about 31 students and staff reported feeling symptoms of nausea. 

A total of 25 students and one adult were transported by city Emergency Medical Services via two city buses to Castle Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente.

Paramedics treated patients for burning eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, sore throat and coughing, said EMS spokeswoman Shayne Enright.

A school official told paramedics students started complaining of symptoms around 9:30 a.m. One employee described a strong smell similar to cough medicine.

The DOE said school officials notified the fire department about the odor at 11:15 a.m. Jenkins said fire crews arrived at the school around 11:20 a.m., and are searching for the source of the odor.

The rest of the school's students were being transported by bus to Kaneohe District Park, where parents can pick them up.

"Due to environmental conditions with gusty winds the source has been hard to find," Jenkins said. "We didn't want anyone else getting sick while we're looking for the source."

DOE officials said school administrators notified parents after noon to pick up their children at the park. The school day was supposed to end at 2:10 p.m. The school, which has about 290 students, is expected to reopen Friday, officials said.






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