Odor Sends 11 Students, 1 Teacher to Hospital: Officials

Officials are investigating the cause of the incident.

Lehigh County officials say 11 students and one teacher were transported to the hospital from a local school.

It happened around 9:40 a.m. near St. Michael the Archangel School in Upper Saucon Township. Students at the school were attending mass at the adjacent Church of Assumption this morning when some of them began to feel ill after detecting a strange odor.

"It was like a mixture of a rose perfume and a garbage stench," said one student. "It didn't smell right."

"I had a headache, my stomach hurt and I felt nauseous," said another student.

"This person was getting walked out and she fainted right away then these two other people fainted at the same time," said Morgan Freeman, another student at the school.

Teachers evacuated all the students from the church and eventually the entire school. NBC10's Doug Shimell reports five of the eleven students passed out briefly but recovered once they were taken out of the church.

The fire department was called and 11 students along with one teacher were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

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UGI crews, fire officials and hazmat crews inspected the school but did not detect natural gas or carbon monoxide.They have not released information on the exact cause of the incident.

"We had no readings on any of the meters that we have," said Upper Saucon Township Fire Chief Chuck Castetter. "The next step was to actually notify Lehigh County for their hazmat team and they came out with more specialized meters. Nothing, we had nothing." 

Officials say the 12 patients were transported to the Lehigh Valley Hospital at Cedar Crest. They told NBC10 that they're feeling better but want to know what exactly the smell came from.

"I'm kind of scared that it will happen again tomorrow," said one of the patients. "I don't want it to."

The Diocese of Allentown said they have full faith in the testing that was conducted. The school will be open tomorrow.


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