Officials think they've found source of Blanchard carbon monoxide problem

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Members of the Cape Girardeau Fire Department respond to a carbon monoxide alarm Monday, April 30, 2012 at Blanchard Elementary in Cape Girardeau. The school was evacuated Monday for the second time since Thursday due to the carbon monoxide alarm activating. (Laura Simon)

Blanchard Elementary was again evacuated Monday when carbon monoxide was detected in the building, but Cape Girardeau School District officials say they have now found the cause and solved the problem.

Students and staff exited the building around 10:30 a.m. and remained outside until close to noon while crews from the Cape Girardeau Fire Department and members of the district's facilities maintenance staff identified the reason for carbon monoxide buildup inside the school's gym and cafeteria.

Administrative services director Neil Glass said a small insect nest was discovered in and removed from an air intake vent on the school's roof during the evacuation. The nest was preventing the school's furnace from properly burning fuel, Glass said, causing carbon monoxide to build up.

The school was also evacuated for more than an hour Thursday when carbon monoxide was detected by the school's alarm system, but the cause could not be found and students were allowed back inside after fire crews aired out the building using a portable ventilation system.

No students were reported to be suffering from any exposure to carbon monoxide during either incident. Several teachers did report headaches and fatigue during the past week, however, according to Glass. The school's nurses were monitoring students and staff for symptoms Monday.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be toxic to the point of causing death if inhaled in a high concentration. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue and nausea, which can sometimes be mistaken for symptoms of other common sicknesses. Malfunctioning heating systems are often a cause of indoor carbon monoxide buildup.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

1840 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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