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October 30, 2013

14 hospitalized after unknown odor at N.C. school

Hickory Daily Record

HICKORY, N.C. — Hickory Career and Arts Magnet was partially evacuated after several people got sick. Officials say 13 students and a teacher were taken to area hospitals.

Authorities were called to the scene at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and initially believed there might have been a carbon monoxide leak, but are now unsure what caused the issues.

People at the scene noticed a strong odor, and carbon monoxide does not have an odor, according to Terri Byers of the Hickory Fire Department.  

The issues began in the dance studio, which is near the gym.

School officials say dance instructor Jan Roundy became very ill. Roundy and six students were transported to Frye Regional Medical Center, while seven other students were transported to Catawba Valley Medical Center.

Authorities did not believe the illness was life threatening.

The issue was confined to the dance studio, and the class in the room had 19 students in it. The rest of the school is still in session.

Samaria Davis, a 10th grader, said it felt like Satan was dancing in the room. She compared the odor to that of roadkill.

“We had about three girls throwing up in the bathroom,” Davis said. “Our teacher passed out. She collapsed after we got done with dance classes.”

Kacy Florence, a student, said she felt really queasy, shaky and nauseous.

Students were vomiting and multiple people were carried on stretchers to ambulances. Hickory Fire Department and Catawba County EMS treated people at the scene.

School officials said that the Catawba County Hazardous Materials team had been called and crews were investigating the building.

This story is still developing and HDR will post updates as they become available

Copyright 2013 Hickory Daily Record

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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