Over 40 students were transferred to nearby hospitals after their Third Ward school reported a potential gas leak on campus. CenterPoint Energy later confirmed that the health issues were the result of fumes from tar being used to repair a roof.
The Houston Fire Department was called around 11:20 a.m. regarding a possible gas leak at the Young Women's College Preparatory Academy, 1906 Cleburne. When paramedics arrived on the scene, they began loading affected students onto stretchers as their other classmates were led to a nearby church across the street. Many of the students could be seen crying and coughing as responders worked to control the situation.
The scene was cleared by fire crews just before 1 pm. Crews reported that no hazards were found at the scene and that the incident was stable.
The initial report of the possible gas leak was logged as a "mass casualty" call, which means more than 20 people were affected. However, HFD spokeswoman Sheldra Brigham said the number fell to about 8 or 9 after the affected people were assessed.
Later though, it was determined that some 40 students had been affected and transported to nearby hospitals.
A ninth-grade student who did not want to be identified said that she was in the back of the building and did not smell anything. According to her, most of the students thought it was a drill until they got outside.
Igeoma Ejigiri, a ninth grader at the school, said that students were escorted outside briefly, and then went back in before being walked out again after someone told them the possible leak could be "serious." Speaking through tears, Ejigiri recalled calling her dad and describing people who couldn't walk, breath or "do anything."
Contact our El Paso team of personal injury attorneys to find out more about this incident and how to seek compensation for injuries sustained on someone else’s property.