Firefighters evacuated the Douglas Municipal Center over fears of a carbon monoxide leak. The leak put children in danger because the building also houses a preschool.
18 people, including 16 children, were taken to area hospitals to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.
On the second floor of the building is where a kindergarten program is located. The first floor is the town hall. In the basement on one side of the building is the police department.
77 kids in all were in the building Monday morning. At 8:30 a.m. students on the second floor started to feel ill, complaining of things like headaches and nausea. Those with higher levels of carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.
Those who didn't need hospital treatment were bussed across town to the new Douglas Elementary School. Firefighters and police officials were on scene to assist parents coming to see their children.
“Because they are so young, err on the side of caution, and do the most appropriate thing and let the A.M. treat them. If we have to transport them, we will transport them,” Douglas Police Chief Patrick Foley said.
The cause of the high levels of carbon monoxide was determined to be a malfunctioning furnace in the basement. Fire code does not require the building to be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors but the town administrator has said there will be several installed following this incident.