Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board to check all carbon monoxide detectors after dozens of children hospitalized
The Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board (CSMB) will be checking all of its carbon monoxide detectors in light of a gas leak at a Montreal elementary school that sent at least 35 children and eight adults to hospital.
“We are going through all our buildings and we are checking them. If we find a building that doesn’t have, we will have it installed,” said Diane Lamarche-Venne, chair of the school board.
Fire officials tell Global News the levels of carbon monoxide in the school’s heating room were at 900 ppm and 175 to 200 ppm in the hallways.
Provincial government norms allow for 35 ppm in a workplace environment and 10 ppm in homes for adults.
“Those are levels for a human adult. These are for people that are 5’7″, 170 lbs, adult people,” said Ian Ritchie, with the Montreal fire department.
“The exposure levels or something they could withstand is much, much different.”
After the inspection, the school board announced the Des Découvreurs elementary school in LaSalle will reopen on Wednesday.
WATCH BELOW: Children transferred to Montreal’s Sacré-Coeur Hospital after carbon monoxide poisoning
On Monday, twelve of the children from the school were admitted to Sacré-Coeur Hospital to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.
They underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy before being released, the hospital confirmed.
Nine of them had suffered severe symptoms, including loss of consciousness while at the school.
“We are taking no chances here,” Dominic Chalut, a pediatric toxicologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, said during a media update Monday.
All the patients were in stable condition, said Robert Barnes, associate director of professional services at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Monday night, those brought to Sainte-Justine Hospital — 25 at its peak — were released, according to spokesperson Florence Meney.
Many of the children brought to the Montreal Children’s Hospital have also been released. Three are currently under observation, but should be released Tuesday.
She noted that they presented with minor symptoms.
Tuesday, the CSMB said it could not confirm if all 80 schools under its care have detectors, but confirmed it plans to push to have them installed in all schools.
Gina Guillemette, a spokesperson for the school board, told Global News there is a carbon monoxide detector and when it was last tested on Oct. 24, the device was functional.
The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) says it will not be checking its carbon monoxide detectors in light of what happened as it already does regular checks.
“The EMSB has the necessary gas detection equipment in all our facilities, as the building code dictates, that includes carbon monoxide detectors. Inspections are done twice a year,” said EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen.
The Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) has no detectors in its schools and has no plans to do any upgrades or sweeps.
“Regular maintenance schedules and safety checks are standard procedures that are followed,” said Jim Hendry, spokesperson for the LBPSB.
The Quebec education ministry says it is up to school boards to ensure that its schools’ carbon monoxide detectors are working.
“Detectors in public buildings are recommended, but not obligatory,” said Francis Bouchard, spokesperson for the department.
WATCH BELOW: The Montreal Children’s Hospital gives a health update for those who fell ill at a LaSalle school
The incident started around 11:12 a.m. Monday at Des Découvreurs elementary school, which has 276 students.
The children, aged six to 13, presented with nausea, dizziness and vomiting.
“I had the scare of my life,” said Martin Castanha as he picked up his son.
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.
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