5 students, 3 faculty members at Smithfield school sent to hospital after feeling sick

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Students, and faculty members taken to hospital after feeling sick
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The school district said the students and faculty members were treated for nausea and headaches after a gas leak was reported in a nearby building.

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- Choice Plus Academy in Smithfield was dismissed early Wednesday after students and faculty members reported having headaches and feeling nauseous.

According to Johnston County Public Schools, a small gas leak was found in a separate building near Choice Plus Academy.

"We were notified that some kids expressed mild symptoms of headaches or nausea," said Johnston County District Spokesperson Richard Carr.

19 people were assessed at the scene and eight were taken to UNC Health Johnston. Five of them are students and three are faculty.

Classes at the school were closed out of an abundance of caution, the school district said.

"Local law enforcement, local emergency officials, and local school officials have determined that we need to dismiss our choice bus academy," Carr said.

Carr said classes are expected to resume Thursday morning.

Piedmont Natural Gas tells ABC11 they found a leak in the boiler room of a separate building and fixed it.

They also sent us this statement about the incident:

"Piedmont Natural Gas technicians responded to Choice Plus Academy in Smithfield, N.C. on Oct. 4. Piedmont worked with the local fire department and the customer to investigate the incident and did not find a gas leak or any CO reading in the main building of the school. A natural gas leak was discovered in a separate building, inside the school's boiler room, on the customer's fuel pipe. Piedmont technicians isolated this leak while onsite."