Friday, September 2, 2011

Mystery illness strikes 23 at Graham Mesa Elementary School in Rifle, Colorado - 1st Sept 2011

Twenty-one students and two teachers were treated at area hospitals today after becoming ill at Graham Mesa Elementary School in Rifle.

Authorities are continuing to try to determine the cause of their sickness. There were initial reports of an odor in a classroom, but the investigation is continuing.

The 3-year-old school was evacuated as a result of the incident. Its 365 students were taken to Wamsley Elementary School in Rifle, and classes for Graham Mesa students will be canceled for Friday. The Garfield Re-2 School District has engineers en route to investigate the school’s mechanical systems, and a consultant was being brought in to determine whether mold might be the culprit.

The initial reports of illness came around 11:15 a.m. from a fourth-grade class.

Nothing has been ruled out as a cause, but at this point Rifle fire officials don’t believe natural gas, carbon monoxide or food poisoning were involved.

Seventeen people were taken to Grand River Hospital in Rifle and six more to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. All those at Valley View and all but two at Grand River were later released, and Grand River expected to release those two today.

Annick Pruett of Grand River Hospital said symptoms of the illness included dizziness and difficulty breathing.

Rifle police chief Daryl Meisner said there’s no indication that criminal actions were behind the illnesses. Source