Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Drexel Prep in Nashville Latest in Series of Similar Incidents in Schools

Drexel Preparatory Academy in Nashville saw some three dozen students from its school being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and will be closed on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

Often called “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless toxic gas produced by incomplete combustion in fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, boilers and heaters for water and swimming pools. One news report indicates that the site of the Drexel leak is the central heating and air unit.

The incident at Drexel follows a rash of other carbon monoxide exposure events in other schools, including a recent incident at Finch Elementary School in Atlanta, where over 500 people were evacuated and some 49 were hospitalized.

Since 2007, more than 3,000 students have had to evacuate schools in at least 19 incidents of high levels of carbon monoxide, according to USA Today.

Very few states have laws that require carbon monoxide alarms.  According to an article from Channel 22 News in Nashville, there were some carbon monoxide monitors in the Drexel tactility but not in the area where the leak occurred. 

Even though Tennessee statutes do not require the alarms, the law requires every property owner to exercise reasonable care for the safety of those that are lawfully on the premises.

Carbon monoxide monitors are relatively inexpensive and are very easy to install. The fact that the school had them installed in some places of the building indicates that it was aware of the risk of a carbon monoxide leak.