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30 sickened by carbon monoxide at Utah school

Posted: November 18, 2013 2:15 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2013 2:15 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A carbon monoxide leak Monday at a southeastern Utah elementary school sent about 30 students and staff to medical facilities for treatment, including two who were airlifted, and prompted officials to evacuate the building, sheriff's officials said.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Monday that one student and one adult at the Montezuma Creek school were airlifted after being sickened by the leak, and 23 other students and adults were driven to area medical facilities.

Those affected were being treated at a local clinic and a hospital in Blanding, about 40 miles north, San Juan School District Superintendent Douglas Wright said. Details on their conditions were not immediately available.

The remaining students and staff at Montezuma Creek Elementary were evacuated. Sheriff's officials said about 280 people were in the building at the time of the leak.

The school remained closed Monday, but officials planned to reopen it Tuesday.

The community of Montezuma Creek is on the Navajo Reservation, about 15 miles west of the Colorado border.

The leak appears to have been caused by a water heater with a blocked ventilation system, the Sheriff's Office and school superintendent said.

Deputies said emergency calls came in Monday morning from the school with reports of students feeling dizzy and sick, deputies said. Multiple emergency crews from nearby cities and towns responded.

The superintendent said the leak occurred around 8 a.m. as people arrived at the school and before classes started.

About 200 students attend Montezuma Creek Elementary, according to 2012 enrollment data.


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