News, Police/Fire

6 Peabody High students briefly hospitalized after encountering classroom odor

Peabody, Ma. 1-14-19. Students from Peabody High school were transported to the hospital by ambulance after exposure to a supstance. (Owen O'Rourke)

PEABODY — Six Veterans Memorial High School students were treated and released from a hospital Monday after they were exposed to an unknown classroom odor.

A student was brought to the nurse’s office from a chemistry class just after 8 a.m., according to Peabody Fire Chief Steven Pasdon.

“When staff investigated, they found five other students of 11 in the class who were not feeling well,” he said. “As a precaution, they were taken to a local hospital.”

Immediately after the incident, the classroom was isolated, he said. Peabody Fire Department was contacted and the state’s Hazardous Materials Emergency Response team arrived.

“They suited up with their hazmat suits, entered the classroom, took air quality readings, and did not find anything of any concern,” Pasdon said.

It’s unclear what caused the students to become light-headed and an investigation is underway, the chief said. Classes are continuing.

“We don’t know the diagnosis,” Pasdon said. “We know they have been treated and released and we put our heads together to see if we can get information from the hospitals or the students to come up with what happened.”

School Superintendent Cara Murtagh praised students and staff for their quick response.

“Students and staff were phenomenal, and first responders were outstanding,” she said. “Some of the students have returned to class.”

Neither the chief or the superintendent could say how many of the hospitalized students have returned to class.

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