All Children Out of the Hospital after Freon Leak at School

By: Stephen McLamb Email
By: Stephen McLamb Email

Lenior City, Loudon County (WVLT) - All of the children sent to the hospital after a freon leak at their school have been treated and released.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb is following the story.

Loudon County School officials were taking heat for hot classrooms earlier this year.

Tuesday, officials say they replaced a bad compressor on one of the air conditioners when it ruptured a line and freon escaped.

Parents began picking up their children from a nearby church after a freon leak at North Middle School around 11:00 a.m.

"I was eating my lunch. The bad part about it was I didn't even get to finish my lunch," said student Colten Toney.

School officials say maintenance replaced a compressor in a bad air conditioning unit and then they went to test it when the problem occurred.

"A new compressor generated more pressure than the old one, that had failed. A line broke and it allowed freon loose in the building," said Edward Headlee, Loudon County School Superintendent.

Over 100 students in the three to four classrooms the unit serviced were taken to three hospitals.

All have since been treated and released.

"Does not seem to be life threatening. They are walking off the bus, so they seem to be in pretty good health," said Children's Hospital Spokesman Seth Linkous.

As parents picked up their children, reaction was mixed, especially after last weekend's lockdown when an unauthorized parent tried to pick up his child.

"Very frightening. It's been a year of quite a few scares over here at North Middle," said parent Ruth Ann Laghezza.

"You stop everything you're doing and you come and you find out what is going on, so I'm thankful that Josh is ok, the kids are ok, and the school is ok," said parent Marla Higginbotham.

"They usually handle these situations fine. So was I concerned? No, I just figured they'd want all the kids to be picked up as soon as possible," said parent Trisha Kopinski.

Superintendent Headlee says they were expected to fix the air conditioning unit Tuesday afternoon.

He says he fully expects classes to resume first thing Wednesday morning.

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