Multiple Students Hospitalized In Gas Leak At St Clare Catholic School

25 Students Injured In Carbon Monoxide Accident During Morning Mass At St Clare Catholic School In O’Fallon

Multiple Students Hospitalized In Gas Leak At St Clare Catholic School

O’FALLON, ILLINOIS (April 26, 2024) – Multiple students were hospitalized at St. Clare Catholic School in O’Fallon after a carbon monoxide leak at the school’s gymnasium.

St. Clair County officials are saying that the incident took place in early April. Students at St. Clare Catholic School were gathering in the gymnasium for morning mass.

A total of 25 students were affected by the carbon monoxide leak, including one adult. One student passed out during the morning mass.

At least 17 students were taken to the hospital after experiencing numerous symptoms. The school was evacuated after the incident, and classes resumed normally on Friday.

O’Fallon Fire Department officials believe that the rooftop furnace may have been the source of the carbon monoxide leak. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For O’Fallon Carbon Monoxide Accidents

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas that is produced whenever fuel burns. It is responsible for a number of hospitalizations each year. According to the Center’s for Disease Control, “Every year, at least 420 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. More than 100,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning.” CO can be produced by a variety of different products, including furnaces, kerosene heaters, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges. There are a number of common symptoms associated with CO poisoning.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath

There could be numerous liable parties for any instance of CO poisoning. This includes the property owner where the incident began. Pursuant to Illinois Civil Code (740 ILCS 130/1), property owners must maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. When a property owner has actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition with their property, they must take action to correct the dangerous condition.

A dangerous condition may exist if a school lacks working CO detectors. According to 430 ILCS 135/1, “Every dwelling unit shall be equipped with at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.” A dangerous condition could also be created if a school failed to adequately maintain some device, such as a furnace that malfunctioned. Schools should take several steps to prevent CO accidents.

  • Schools should install CO detectors in areas where CO buildup is possible.
  • Schools should maintain all of their heating systems and have them inspected on a regular basis.
  • Schools should ensure that there is adequate ventilation where combustion appliances are used.
  • School officials should be trained to recognize the signs of CO poisoning.

The company that created a furnace or other combustion appliance could also face liability for any instance of CO poisoning. All companies have a legal obligation to create products that are reasonably safe and could be held strictly liable for design defects related to their products. It is important for victims of CO poisoning to understand that they do have rights. Any person who has become ill after exposure to carbon monoxide may have legal recourse through a civil claim.

Investigating CO Poisoning Accidents In St Clair County

We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our best wishes to all of the students and families at St. Clare Catholic School impacted by this incident. It is our sincere hope that all of those affected will be able to make a full recovery. School officials should do the right thing and take steps to prevent similar incidents down the road.

Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a CO poisoning accident? Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to getting accident victims the support and justice that they are entitled to under the law. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.