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UPDATE: Parents remain concerned about carbon monoxide threat at Nitro Elementary School

(WSAZ)
Published: Mar. 2, 2016 at 2:22 PM EST
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UPDATE 3/9/16 @ 6:38 p.m.

NITRO, W.Va (WSAZ) -- Although Nitro Elementary School students returned to school Thursday March 3, the day after a carbon monoxide leak caused administrators to cancel classes, many students' families remain concerned.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas.

The leak was caused by damage to the school's rooftop heating system, but the problem has since been repaired. Many parents at the school are still concerned a week later, because the school does not have carbon monoxide detectors installed.

Nitro Elementary School also had a carbon monoxide leak in 2013 that caused the school to close.

"Now I'm thinking is there still anything in there? Are they checking on an ongoing basis? Are they doing that? I don't know," said Mickie Councill, a grandmother of three students at Nitro Elementary School. Councill says she is surprised to find out that all schools in Kanawha County do not have carbon monoxide detectors.

The Nitro Fire Department responded to the call Wednesday morning.

The chief of the Nitro Fire Department says during the latest incident, carbon monoxide levels in the kitchen and cafeteria area were three and a half times the limit and that something needs to be done. In the hallway, it was five times the limit.

The chief says the levels were so high that students likely would have experienced symptoms like dizziness and headaches, if they were in the building.

Terry Hollandsworth, executive director of maintenance with Kanawha County Schools, says the problem has been repaired but could continue to be a concern in the future.

"We have a carbon monoxide detector, little hand-held one, we can go through the schools and check things out. And I think this one warrants a little more opportunities to go over and check that out," Hollandsworth said.

Hollandsworth says maintenance will occasionally check on the carbon monoxide levels at the school moving forward.

As for the carbon monoxide detectors, the school's principal says he is working with the school's PTO to buy their own and install them in the near future.


ORIGINAL STORY 3/2/16 @ 2:26 p.m.

NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Classes were canceled at Nitro Elementary Wednesday due to an issue with a heating unit.

Terry Hollingsworth, director of maintenance, tells WSAZ they discovered a crack in the school's heating exchange releasing carbon monoxide in the building.

The gas was immediately turned off in the building until they determined what unit had the crack.

The issue was discovered before students arrived at the school. Kanawha County Schools canceled classes just before 7 a.m. Wednesday.

No one was allowed in the building until crews gave the all clear.

All of the doors at the school were opened all day and fans were on trying to air out the building.

Hollingsworth says the unit is being repaired Wednesday and classes will resume on Thursday.

The Nitro Fire Department responded and assisted with the situation.

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