Carbon monoxide scare prompts north Edmonton school evacuation

Bishop Greschuk Catholic Elementary School in north Edmonton. Global News

Bishop Greschuk Catholic Elementary School in north Edmonton ended class early on Friday after high levels of carbon monoxide were detected in the elementary school.

Edmonton Catholic Schools said the principal and staff became concerned about an exhaust smell at 10 a.m.and called ATCO to investigate. Crews arrived quickly and detected high levels of carbon monoxide in the school.

“Around 10 a.m., the decision was made to evacuate the school,” the school board said in a statement.

“Parents were sent the attached information by email/phone/text and were asked to pick up their child at the school.”

The students were ushered to a gymnasium where officials deemed the spaces safe to wait. All 430 students were gone within an hour.

The school board said more testing will be done over the weekend.

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“Our facilities department has set up air quality equipment in the school and it tests the air every five minutes,” the statement said. “They will return to the school on Sunday to review the testing and parents will be contacted if classes can’t resume on Monday.

“If parents do not receive any information, classes will resume on Monday.”

The school near 173 Avenue and 91 Street did not have a carbon monoxide detector installed but there are plans to add them to school infrastructure.

“The division has set aside funding and has a two-year plan to place carbon monoxide detectors in each of our 96 schools at a cost of about $4,000 a school and that plan is just being implemented,” Edmonton Catholic Schools said.

READ MORE: Edmonton Public Schools to install carbon monoxide detectors in all its schools

While building codes don’t require them in Alberta, there’s a push to make them mandatory.

“If we’re encouraging the public to have these in all their homes, I don’t understand why they shouldn’t be in schools as well,” said Don Voaklander with the University of Alberta Injury Prevention Centre in an interview in January 2019.

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