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34 From Kingston High School Sent To Hospitals Because Of Unknown Odor

KINGSTON (CBS) -- An unknown odor in a classroom at a Kingston high school Friday morning sent 34 people to area hospitals, according to the Kingston fire chief.

Kingston Superintendent of Schools Jill Proulx said that at around 10:15 a.m., a teacher reported a strange odor in one classroom at Silver Lake Regional High School. A state hazmat response team was deployed as a result of the report.

Among those sent to the hospital were two teachers and dozens of students.

The HVAC system in the school has been shut down and the school evacuated while the situation is assessed. Proulx said the approximately 1,200 students were evacuated out of "an abundance of caution."

Police and firefighters were called and are currently on scene investigating the odor, which is of unknown origin.

Kingston Fire Chief Mark Douglass said patients are being treated as necessary but that no serious injuries have been reported.

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The scene at Silver Lake Regional High School. (Photo Credit: David Curran)

"We've got some dizziness, throat irritation. That is indicative of some type of chemical release within the building," Douglass said.

Douglass called the odor "very much unknown at this point." He said it could be a result of something a student brought in to school or an issue with the HVAC system.

Students were being held at a nearby middle school in case they had some kind of contaminant on them, but by 2:15 p.m., parents were allowed to pick up their children.

"Relax, we've got it under control," Douglass said. "Anyone who needs to be treated is being treated."

Caroline Wilson was one of many anxious parents waiting for their children at the high school.

"My daughter face-timed me and was saying that she was in the cafeteria and that they couldn't move. They were in a stay-put," she said.

Wilson's daughter Jenna was exposed to the odor and said that students had to wait three hours to be released.

"I just felt really light-headed in the school," Jenna said. "I felt really sick."

The cause of the odor was still unknown by 5:15 p.m.

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