School cancelled after sickening gas sends kids, staff to hospital 2 days in a row

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. — An elementary in Elmwood Park is closed Friday after students, staffers and a firefighter fell ill in two different incidents that prompted the school to be evacuated twice this week, according to reports.

Students and teachers were rushed to the hospital by ambulances. Some kids witness their friends get sick in class. One boy fainted.

"He also twisted his leg and we all saw him sitting on the stretcher and some people were crying,” said Samantha Cacaj, a fourth-grader at the school.

A mom told PIX11 her son had a carbon monoxide level of 11 after he was evacuated from the school on Wednesday. Multiple parents and students said kids were all tested at the fire house for carbon monoxide and anyone with high levels was rushed to the hospital. Parents say it was too many children to count. One mom said her son was refused at HackensackUMC because they were already inundated with children.

PIX11 reached out to the district for more information on Friday. Parents said the school attributed the sickness to glycol but some are confused since their kids tested high for carbon monoxide.

"That school didn’t report nothing to nobody,” Elsa Diaz said. "Like until two or three hours after the accident, they evacuate the kids but they don’t tell nothing to the parents."

Two of her grandchildren attend the school. Both were hospitalized.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning was inspected and repaired Wednesday night, and the school was reopened Thursday, according to Superintendent of Schools Anthony Grieco.

However, six staff members became sick for unknown reasons on Thursday, prompting the school to again be evacuated, according to Grieco.

No students were sent home sick Thursday, according to Grieco and police officials.

Bergen County Hazmat crews, Office of Emergency Management officials, police and fire crews responded to the school, and have deemed it safe, Grieco said.

"Out of an abundance of caution and to be proactive," the school was closed Friday, Grieco said.

Additional tests are being performed to "ensure the safety of our students and staff," he added.

Concerned parents tell PIX11 as many as a dozen students were hospitalized because of the incidents this week.

Local hospital officials confirm nine people were treated in connection to the incidents. A date for when the patients were treated, and the ages and condition of the patients, was not provided.