CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A carbon monoxide scare at a school in Northwest Charlotte is now uncovering a potentially dangerous threat within the district.
Thursday, you could see the police, the ambulance, the fire trucks outside of Coulwood Middle School. However, it’s what you couldn’t see, the carbon monoxide that leaked in the building, that concerns some parents now in schools across the metro.
“I couldn’t even imagine if I was being called at work what would go through my head,” said Kimberly Raybon.
Raybon’s children don’t even attend Coulwood Middle School, but after hearing other parents and learning of the leak, she is looking at her kids’ schools.
“Definitely a safety hazard,” said Raybon.
It was the middle of lunch time when Principal Janet Moss says she had to evacuate more than 200 seventh graders. A health inspector on a routine visit discovered a high level of carbon monoxide in the kitchen. Principal Moss says it was coming from the ovens. The fan that would have blown air from the ovens outside wasn’t working.
“Get my kids away from it, that was the biggest thing,” said Principal Moss. “…to make sure the children were safe.”
She said since they practiced the emergency drill already this new school year, the kids got out fast and safe.
When firefighters got there, they took a reading. They say they found that the CO level was at 67 parts per million. Anything about 35 parts per million is dangerous.
So, WCCB Charlotte asked fire crews why the school’s alarm system did not sound. Investigators revealed that didn’t happen because the school did not have a carbon monoxide detector.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says none of the older buildings have carbon monoxide detectors. However, the newer facilities do have them.
“I think it’s ludicrous,” said Raybon. “That needs to be standard. I don’t think it should be optional.”
After WCCB Charlotte spoke with the district, leaders said they will install a detector in the kitchen of Coulwood. They also said they will look at ways to install alarms in older schools.
Information wasn’t available Thursday as to what date the district began installing carbon monoxide detectors. We will update you when a list of schools becomes available.