Students return to school in Santee, after liquid bleach spill s - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Students return to school in Santee, after liquid bleach spill sickens dozens

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SANTEE (CBS 8 / CNS) - Students and staff return to school in Santee Wednesday morning, after the campus went into lockdown mode.

A spill of liquid bleach at an East County community center sickened dozens of children and several teachers at a nearby primary school Tuesday morning and sent them to hospitals for precautionary exams.
Children and employees at Rio Seco Elementary School in Santee began smelling a caustic odor and complaining of nausea, stinging eyes and mild shortness of breath about 8 a.m., according to sheriff's officials.

According to investigators, 300 gallons of bleach solution used for the pool at the Cameron Family YMCA, next to the school, had accidentally leaked. The leak occurred either overnight, or early Tuesday morning. 

Officials kept some unaffected students in their classrooms as public safety crews worked to identify the source of the fumes.

Medics evaluated more than 80 students and four school staffers at the scene and then took them to hospitals to be checked out for apparently minor chemical-exposure symptoms, Santee fire Chief Richard Mattick told reporters. All the patients were listed in stable condition.

Fourteen students were taken to Sharp Chula Vista and 14 more with two adults were taken to Sharp Grossmont, and eight to Rady Children's. 

"The small vapor cloud may have lingered in the air because of several factors, including, wind and humidity," said Battalion Chief, Dave Williams.

None of the children were really close to the chemical spill, and all had mild symptoms like watery eyes, shortness of breath, coughing. 

"It is not surprising, any time there is a chemical exposure where there's large numbers of people, you can certainly have these injures and casualties," said Keri Carstairs, ER Medical doctor at Rady Children's Hospital. 

The school notified parents concerning a liquid bleach spill via telephone message.

"I got a call saying that my daughter experienced some side effects and that she was evaluated by paramedics and they decided to transport her," said Nicole Ryan. 

Nicole's nine-year-old daughter was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital with 18 other affected students, and one adult. 

"I'm feeling a little bit better. Just my head, and my stomach really hurt a lot," said Danielle Bardy, an affected student. 

Danielle said she experienced dizziness.

Crowds of parents and children waited in the emergency room lobby at Sharp Memorial as each student was evaluated by a physician. 

"We are basically going to tell parents to make sure they're hydrated. Take Tylenol for headaches, and of course, they can return if they have any further symptoms," said Amy Poulin, an ER nurse at Sharp. 

About 11 a.m., investigators determined that no further public risk existed, and classes resumed at the campus shortly thereafter, according to Santee School District officials.

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