January 14, 2019 1:37 pm
Updated: January 14, 2019 10:29 pm

At least 43 children, adults in hospital after carbon monoxide leak at a Montreal school

WATCH ABOVE: Montreal firefighters respond after children suddenly fell ill at a LaSalle school.


At least 35 children and eight adults have been transported to hospital after they suddenly fell ill due to a carbon monoxide leak at an elementary school in Montreal’s LaSalle borough.

Des Découvreurs elementary school, which was immediately evacuated late Monday morning, will remain closed on Tuesday, according to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board (CSMB).

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Several children were taken to the Montreal Children’s Hospital; others are at Sainte-Justine Hospital.

READ MORE: Carbon monoxide poisoning spikes in winter: here’s what you need to know

“Ten patients have been transferred to Sacré-Coeur Hospital for hyperbaric oxygen therapy,” confirmed Robert Barnes, associate director of professional services at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Nine of the children sent to Sacré-Coeur suffered severe symptoms, having lost consciousness at the school.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal Children’s Hospital provides update on LaSalle elementary school carbon monoxide leak

“The 10th patient was [admitted] for persistent dizziness,” said Dominic Chalut, a pediatric toxicologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“We are taking no chances here.”

He explained the goal is to prevent long-term side effects from carbon monoxide poisoning, including memory and concentration problems.

READ MORE: Close call during carbon monoxide incident leads to call for more education in New Brunswick

Barnes added that patients are still being brought into the hospital.

At least one adult is in stable condition and under observation at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

“Two patients have already been discharged. Everyone is in stable condition…we expect that they will be released healthy very shortly,” Barnes confirmed.

WATCH BELOW: 10 transferred to Montreal’s Sacré-Coeur Hospital after carbon monoxide poisoning

The hospital had called for a code orange Monday, a protocol that is issued when multiple patients are expected to arrive at the same time at the trauma centre.

It has since been lifted.

The incident started around 11:12 a.m. Monday.

“We had one ambulance, but when it got there, they had multiple patients,” said François Labelle, a spokesperson for Urgences-Santé.

The children, aged six to 13, presented with nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

READ MORE: Hundreds of people evacuated from Calgary condo after carbon monoxide leak

Montreal fire department chief of operations Francis Leduc said there was a malfunction in the school’s gas-powered heating system.

He explained the gas was getting caught in the chimney and leaking into the building.

WATCH BELOW: The Montreal Children’s Hospital gives a health update for those who fell ill at a LaSalle school

Gina Guillemette, spokesperson for the CSMB, told Global News there is a carbon monoxide detector in the school. She said when it was last tested in the fall of 2018, the device was functional.

“It seems that it did not ring today,” she said by email. “We do not know why.”

The school, which has 276 students, was evacuated. The children were brought to Notre-Dame-des-Rapides Elementary, a school across the street.

“I had the scare of my life,” said Martin Castanha as he picked up his son.

Montreal firefighters respond after multiple children suddenly fell ill at an elementary school in LaSalle.

Brayden Jagger Haines/Global News

Officials from the CSMB say parents were notified via email.

They say additional administration staff also came in to help co-ordinate efforts.

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Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said he and Health Minister Danielle McCann are in contact with the school board and Urgences-Santé.

“All necessary measures are being taken to ensure the safety and comfort of the students,” he said on Twitter.

“We are following the situation closely.”

— With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise


© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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