Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gas sends kids to hospital

Compressor's refrigerant leaks at school

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The last day of school turned into a one-night stay in hospital for several children from Victor Mager School.

A leak from an air conditioner produced potentially poisonous fumes that made many students and staff sick Friday morning at the St. Vital school.

In all, nearly 40 people received medical attention.

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority officials said 17 children and five adults had to go to hospital, along with another 17 children who were assessed on scene by paramedics.

As of late Friday, six kids between the ages of 10 and 12 from the kindergarten-to-Grade 8 school were admitted to hospital for observation and the rest were released.

All those in hospital were in stable condition late Friday afternoon, HSC spokeswoman Katherine Fox said.

Emergency crews went to Victor Mager School about 11:20 a.m. after a "refrigerant gas leaked from a compressor," city spokesman Steve West said. West said the leak was "quickly stopped," and crews were able to vent the school.

The school was evacuated after the leak, and those affected were taken to the Health Sciences Centre emergency department on special buses. Each bus had a respiratory therapist, a nurse and a doctor to check the children over.

Other children and staff were treated at the scene, but a letter sent home with them warned parents to seek medical help if the children showed any signs of illness, such as stomach cramps or difficulty breathing.

Kyle Spiring, who was at the school picking up his seven-year-old son, Krispin, said the boy was none the worse for the experience.

"These things happen," Spiring said.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 1, 2012 A4

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