Preston County, WV – Students at Tunnelton-Denver Elementary School and South Preston Middle School were evacuated Friday afternoon after being exposed to higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide. A neighboring business’ furnace pushed smoke into the school, which caused the high levels of carbon monoxide, said Craig Schmidl, Preston County Assistant Superintendent.

Ambulances from Preston, Barbour, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Taylor, and Tucker counties were called to the school to transport 37 patients from modular units behind the school to Grafton City Hospital, Preston Memorial Hospital, and Ruby Memorial Hospital, and Mon General Hospital. Firefighters at the scene said students were transported to local hospitals after complaining of nausea and dizziness. Firefighters from the Tunnelton VFD said none of the illnesses seemed severe.

Schmidl said the carbon monoxide levels have since returned to normal, but school will not be back in session until Monday. The W.Va. Division of Natural Resources is at the scene to air out the building. Emergency crews will monitor the carbon monoxide levels in the schools throughout the weekend to see if students can safely return Monday.