A gas leak at Edison Middle School in Wheaton on Monday was caused by an electric gas valve that failed in a science classroom, school officials said Wednesday.
Since the leak, all gas has been shut off in classrooms at Edison1125 South Wheaton Avenue, said Erica Loiacono, Director of Public Relations for District 200, in an e-mail. The facility services department also plans to check all gas valves in classrooms throughout the district this summer, Loiacono said.
On Monday afternoon, a gas leak coupled with a power outage is believed to have caused "
an air conditioner to emit a burning odor," according to the Chicago Tribune.
The school was evacuated and numerous students who were originally in the area of the natural gas leak reported minor symptoms such as a headache and light headedness, according to a city of Wheaton press release.
As a result, 38 students were treated with 29 being transported to area hospitals and nine patients being released on the scene to a guardian.
"It was determined that the illness complaints were from students who became irritated by the natural gas smell," according to the news release "While natural gas is generally a non-toxic product with flammability being its’ greatest hazard, it can cause a headache and light headedness with some people. The incident did not cause any life threatening injuries."
The district is slated to begin work Thursday in installing a back-up power generator that should ensure "continuous access to communication services," according to the District 200 news release. The back-up services are slated to be in place by the start of next school year.