Harper High evacuated, seven hospitalized after ‘smell’ reported

SHARE Harper High evacuated, seven hospitalized after ‘smell’ reported

Seven people were taken to hospitals after an odor was detected Wednesday morning at a high school in the West Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.

The smell, which was “probably coming from a crew working in the street,” was reported at Harper High School at 6520 S. Wood about 10 a.m., according to Fire Media Affairs spokesman Larry Langford.

Crews measured the building for carbon monoxide, and “there was some, but it was very low. Nothing to be alarmed about. All there was was a smell,” Langford said. “The air quality of the school tested fine.”

Fire officials initially said the school had a carbon monoxide leak.

Chicago Police said the school was evacuated because of a natural gas leak. However, Bonnie Johnson of People’s Gas said the utility took part in an “investigation into a foreign odor at Harper” and “confirmed the odor was not natural gas.”

Two people were taken to Holy Cross Hospital and two were taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, Fire Dept. spokesman Will Knight said. Three others were also transported to hospitals. Unconfirmed scanner reports said the injured were all students.

Six people were in fair-to-serious condition and one person was in good condition, Knight said. Witnesses said other students and staff were relocated to alternate sites.

Chicago Public Schools has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

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