APS carbon monoxide leak: Glad to hear that students and most staff at Finch Elementary are fine

Updated Monday at 10:34 p.m. with news that Finch will be closed tomorrow and students directed to another campus:

It appears Atlanta Public Schools handled the crisis well today at Finch Elementary where a faulty boiler is suspected of causing a carbon monoxide leak that sent students and staff to the hospital.

Forty-three students were taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding. A spokesperson for Grady Memorial Hospital said 10 adults were brought in for evaluation. No serious injuries were reported, though two adults may be kept overnight for observation at Grady.

Finch will be closed on Tuesday. Students are to report to Kennedy Elementary, according to APS spokesman Stephen Alford.

According to the AJC:

Superintendent Erroll Davis applauded Finch principal Carol Evans’ swift response in the wake of the incident, but acknowledged the district could improve.

“In all emergency situations, one of the things you find is that the calling trees are not up to date,” he said. “We had a safe place to take the students, but we have to work on a convening place for parents.”

During a school board meeting early Monday afternoon, board member Byron Amus recommended further work to prevent future communication issues.

“We need to continue to work with parents to make sure that all forms of communication are up to date,” Amus said.

Davis said officials are investigating the cause of the carbon monoxide leak.

“We suspect the issue started with the boiler,” Davis said.

Atlanta fire’s McDaniel said high levels of carbon monoxide were found near the school’s furnace. She said the carbon monoxide level, which was measured at 1,700 parts per million, was “one of the highest that Atlanta fire has ever seen.”

The school was built in 2004 and opened the following year without carbon monoxide detectors in place. Glenn Allen, a spokesman for the state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens, said schools are not required by state law to have carbon monoxide detectors. Larry Hoskins, the deputy superintendent for operations, said the boiler passed a state-certified inspection last year and wasn’t due for another inspection until 2013.

“One of the things we’re going to look at is whether we need to implement the use of carbon monoxide detectors,” Hoskins said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

4 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

December 3rd, 2012
5:28 pm

Maybe Finch officials should have been the ones to handle NAHS, as they seemed to be more equal to the task than Error (oops, typo)

And this is telling: If you can’t even be bothered to provide an emergency number for your child how is it the teacher’s fault your child isn’t prepared to learn?


December 3rd, 2012
5:58 pm

My experience is that parents are very slow at providing constantly changing numbers. I always worried that I would not be able to get a hold of a parent…..

Pride and Joy

December 3rd, 2012
8:21 pm

My experience is that the schools don’t bother to call the correct number. Both my husband and I work. We both have home and work phone numbers. The school ALWAYS called my HOME land line number during normal working hours (8-5).
Yes, of course I wrote the word “cell” beside my cell phone, “work” beside my work number and “home” beside my home number and included my working hours and of course provided BOTH email addresses (work) and (home) but when my child was seriously cut on the playground, the office called my HOME land line and then faulted me for not picking up my child when they called — and of course never attempted to call my husband.
Six phone numbers and four email addresses were provided — all working — they just couldn’t be bothered to read the word beside the phone number and there my child sat, in pain, afraid, and wondering why his parents were there to take him to the hospital.

Pride and Joy

December 3rd, 2012
8:26 pm

Of course, in Dekalb county, Cheryl Atkinson, super extraordinaire, trotted out her new laptop computers she plans to give all students…
She is a one trick poney. She did the same thing at her last gig in Ohio. Dekalb county is in serious trouble and she wants to make nice by giving every kid a computer they can play games on.
That will turn EVERY teacher into desk top support. There will be very little time to teach because teachers will have to stop the lesson to determine why little Johnny’s laptop won’t boot up or stop to determine why little Susie’s laptop battery isn’t working or a myriad of other things.
Kids will lose and break these laptops and they will be stolen. This is a debacle. Why aren’t we reading a blog about it?