NORTH PORT, Fla. - A HAZMAT unit was called to Lemarque Elementary School in North Port Wednesday, after the area 911 system received multiple calls from the location. The event had many parents concerned and searching for answers.
Five 911 calls were placed by five separate teachers. We are told two were taken away in ambulances. Meanwhile, the HAZMAT team says their machines found nothing.
The Sarasota County School District says they had been getting complaints about a smell at the school again. They say they were able to track it down early this morning to a rotten orange in a student’s desk. Shortly after that, though, the first 911 call came in, then another, and three more in the next hour and a half.
"I think there's more to it," said Lamarque teacher, D'Arcy Denis. They symptoms teachers and students are experience has gotten worse over the last two years."
The North Port Fire Department says they brought in machines capable of detecting traces of harmful chemicals in the air and they found nothing.
"It is strange that so many people would call in one day. We are not sure what it was. There was not really a common denominator in the chief complaints, either. The only thing common was a little light headedness," said Michael Frantz of North Port Fire.
"If they had found any type of reading that was any type of concern, we actually had buses staged. We were going to stage and pull kids out if we had to. We were ready to go and evacuate. Certainly we don't want to evacuate and create a false sense of fear," said Jody Dumas of the Sarasota county School District.
Other than the ill teachers, it was a pretty regular day at Lamarque we are told.
15 children did go to the school nurse Wednesday, but we are told that is not out of the ordinary for the school. Officials did cancel after-school activities, though.
Lamarque Elementary has been the location of a mysterious odor for several years. Investigations by the school district and the health department have found nothing. Just last month, the National Centers for Disease Control was contacted to check the school out.