149 Yonkers students sent to hospitals; mystery substance cited: Yonkers METU Dispatched
Yonkers MAB seen at 0minutes:42seconds
The Yonkers METU was immediately sent and originally set up as a triage unit, but quickly turned into a mass treatment and transport unit. The unit treated and transported a total of 77 patients over 3 trips. Two local hospitals were utilized. The first load was the more serious children who were exposed. The bus was filled with a combination of stretchered and seated patients, 22 were transported to St Joseph’s Medical Center. The second load was 25 patients transported to St. Joseph’s ER (mainly seated 3 stretchered). The third load went to St. Johns Hospital ER with 30 seated patients on board. The remainder of patients were transported via FD bus and a school bus.
YONKERS – Officials sent 149 students and three teachers from Yonkers Middle High School to five hospitals on Wednesday as they evacuated the school and investigated “an unidentified noxious substance” that could have affected a few students, authorities said.
Several students in the school cafeteria started experiencing mild nausea and chest discomfort shortly before noon, police said, prompting school officials to notify the police and fire department.
“There are no serious medical conditions we are aware of at this time,” Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said at a 2 p.m. news conference, adding that most of those taken to the hospital had not exhibited symptoms.
Five firefighters who were among the first to arrive were also taken to the hospital with similar symptoms. The cause of the distress remained a mystery.
“We have not come up with anything decisive yet,” Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Fitzpatrick said at the news conference.
Police are investigating the incident, said Detective Lt. Patrick McCormack, a department spokesman, but there was no indication of any criminal wrongdoing as of Wednesday afternoon.
Officials said cafeteria staff did not notice — or smell — anything amiss.
The school at 150 Rockland Ave. — which houses 500 middle school students and 1,150 high school students — was evacuated, though those who had not gone home by 1:30 p.m. were allowed into the gymnasium.
Many students who were walking up and down Spruce Street shortly after 1 p.m. didn’t seem to know what had prompted the evacuation. None of the teachers assembled had much information either.
Gardner said the hospitalized students were between 11 and 14 years old. They were taken to hospitals in Yonkers, Bronxville, Dobbs Ferry and White Plains.
“The majority of children did not have symptoms,” the police commissioner said. “We sent them to hospitals to make sure they were OK.”
Police and fire officials said they will review video and interview those who were present as they continue to investigate the incident.