Principal says no danger remains from monoxide leak at school

Published 1:15 pm Saturday, January 14, 2017

‘Students are safe’

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to detect because its symptoms are similar to that of the flu, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning is a severe headache. It can also cause severe fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, confusion and lack of coordination. 

The discussion comes after a small carbon monoxide leak was reported at Albert Lea High School on Thursday.

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High school Principal Mark Grossklaus said once the leak was discovered in the school’s wood shop, action was taken to move students and staff.

He said the school staff have safety plans and evacuation plans in place and he said he believes they acted appropriately.

“The students are safe,” Grossklaus said. “We would never put them in a situation where they’re not.”

The principal said an independent, professional HVAC contractor was already on-site working to a repair a heating unit on the roof and identified the issue and then turned off the gas in the affected areas. The unit was repaired, and the affected areas were then ventilated. Air quality was measured multiple times throughout the day and was at normal levels.

The principal said Minnesota Energy Resources was at the school the day before the incident related to something else and had found nothing of concern.

He said he checked the absences at the school this week, and the school has not had an increase in students who have called in with flu-like symptoms.

Grossklaus said he encourages parents who have questions to contact him at the high school at 379-5340. He had not received any contacts from parents about the incident as of Friday afternoon.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

• Severe headache

• Severe fatigue

• Weakness

• Chest pain in those with heart disease

• Shortness of breath

• Nauseau

• Vomiting

• Confusion

• Lack of coordination