“Transient nuisance odor” hits West Loch and Waipahu Intermediate School, sends 7 to hospital

Emergency responders could not determine the cause of the gas smell that sickened students at Waipahu Intermediate School.  The smell was reported from several areas near Pearl Harbor.



Gas smell disrupts Waipahu school day

Responding fire crews discover no odor or source in the area

By Star-Bulletin staff

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 13, 2009

City ambulance crews took seven people from Waipahu Intermediate School to Hawaii Medical Center West yesterday following complaints of a strong smell of gas.

Three ambulances were sent to the school after 11 a.m. The patients included two students under the age of 13 and five adults, according to Emergency Medical Services spokesman Bryan Cheplic

The patients all complained of nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness, Cheplic said. They were taken to the hospital in stable condition, Cheplic said

Another ambulance was sent to a residence on nearby Pupumomi Street because of similar complaints. One resident was treated and released, Cheplic said.

The Honolulu Fire Department sent two fire hazardous material crews, three engines and two battalion chiefs to Waipahu Intermediate, Pupumomi Street and Honowai Elementary, also in Waipahu, at about the same time after several people complained about the gas smell

Firefighters investigated along with the Gas Co. and federal firefighters but could not find any gas in the air or any source of the smell, said Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

A Navy spokesman said federal firefighters responded to a call about a gaseous smell in West Loch at about 11 a.m. but could not pinpoint a source. No one reported injuries in that call.

Seelig described the incident as a “transient nuisance odor” that may have drifted into the area and disturbed people.

No one needed medical attention at Honowai Elementary, he said.

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