Officials puzzled over high carbon monoxide levels among Rowan Co. students

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Two more Rowan County students had elevated carbon monoxide levels and were taken to a hospital Monday.

A student got sick on a substitute bus, the Rowan-Salisbury Schools district said.

Substitute bus No. 315 stopped at Miller’s Ferry Volunteer Fire Department and two more students said they were sick. Those two kids were taken to a hospital for evaluation, the district said.

The rest of the students were moved onto another substitute bus and the afternoon route resumed.

Not the first time

Bus No. 315 stopped at the same station that responded to another bus, No. 372, last Friday when several other students reported feeling sick.

Seven of the students on Bus No. 372 were treated for elevated carbon monoxide levels on Friday.

That bus was eight years old and passed an inspection a week ago with no issues. There’s no timeline for when it will go back into service.

It is unclear what is causing of the carbon monoxide levels.

“We are committed to discovering all potential causes for these medical emergencies in these past two days,” the district stated Monday night in a news release. “We are working with several groups to investigate and plan steps moving forward.”


The RSS director of transportation tested bus No. 315 Monday when he arrived, and it indicated zero carbon monoxide gases were in it.

Bus No. 372 was tested on Friday and also had zero carbon monoxide levels onboard, the district said.

Two members of the RSS District staff, including the transportation director, rode on the route on bus No. 104 Tuesday with the students to monitor any issues and tested the bus again.

“We are also working with experts to investigate any other possible issues with the bus or with additional factors outside of the bus route,” the district said.

No students got sick on Tuesday.

The staff members detected 0 ppm on bus No. 104 during the entire route, and no carbon monoxide was detected using a meter.

‘We do not know what it came from yet’

Workers were monitoring the area outside Hanford Dole Elementary School Tuesday. The chief of emergency services said they were checking carbon monoxide levels where students wait for the bus.

“Today we are going to go to the school where they load the kids home, and one of my fire marshals will be there with a CO device to see if he can get any readings from that. That’s about all we can rule out right now,” Chief Allen Cress said.

They have already checked the school and the buses where the kids reported getting sick. Both came back with zero reads, according to emergency services. They’ve even checked the home of one of the students who got sick -- that home was also a zero read.

“We do not know what it came from yet,” Cress said.

They’re continuing to monitor students for carbon monoxide poisoning.

“There’s a lot of different ways, nausea and vomiting or some of the symptoms,” Cress said. “We do have monitors that we can put onto anybody to see what their carbon monoxide levels are inside their body.”

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Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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