30 Students Affected by Kiln Fumes in Chicago School

Thirty elementary students at a north suburban school were hospitalized after fumes from a small kiln fire made them sick.

The fire broke out in an art department classroom at Antioch Upper Grade School, officials said. A teacher placed a blanket on the fire in hopes of extinguishing it, but the blanket was not flame resistant, the Antioch Fire Department said.

The teacher evacuated students and pulled a fire alarm. Firefighters arrived at the school at 8:40 a.m., extinguished the fire and checked for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and other contaminants, the fire department said.

About an hour later, the department received a call that students were feeling ill. Fire officials called just after 11 a.m. for more ambulances.

Thirty students were then transported to area hospitals with non-critical injuries, the fire department said.

A school official said no toxic materials were in the kiln at the time of the fire.

As a precaution, the fire department ordered the evacuation of the school at 800 Highview Drive, and school officials decided to release all students early because of the incident.

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