Peace Dale, RI – AIMEE COUTURE, Narragansett Times – Carbon monoxide detectors aren’t mandatory in schools, but after high levels of the lethal gas caused the evacuation of Peace Dale Elementary School, that might change, Superintendent Robert Hicks said Thursday.

Tuesday morning, 520 students were taken to the high school when a heating exhaust vent that was clogged with snow backed high carbon monoxide levels into the school.

No one became ill, according to Hicks, but some students and teachers did complain of headaches, which were alleviated once they stepped outside for fresh air.

Around 10 am Tuesday, the Union Fire District was called to the school after a smell (not carbon monoxide, which is odorless) was detected emanating from a vent in one of the first floor classrooms. Students were brought upstairs, Hicks said, and then to the gymnasium while the firemen tested for the carbon monoxide levels.

Officials evacuated the school after high levels of the odorless, colorless, tasteless gas were found. When inhaled, the gas can cause lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, and is lethal if the victim is not assisted.