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Big scare at Beaumont, Texas middle school

BEAUMONT, Texas -- Nearly 200 students and staff members got sick after an apparent carbon monoxide leak at a Beaumont middle school, reports CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV.

Sixty-nine people were taken to area hospitals to be checked out. Dozens more were treated at the scene.

Marshall Middle School was evacuated after students started getting sick around 10:30 Thursday morning.

"Yeah, it was scary! I mean a lot of people -- I saw kids pass out, headaches, crying, a lot of that stuff," said Joseph Brown, a Marshall Middle School student.

Beaumont Fire-Rescue officials say paramedics were called after a student lost consciousness, reports The Associated Press.

When firefighters arrived, their equipment detected a high reading of carbon monoxide, according to Beaumont Fire & Rescue Capt. Earl White.

"Students and faculty were evacuated to safe areas to be evaluated. Numerous students and faculty members reported exposure symptoms such as nausea and headaches. All students and faculty members that are exhibiting these symptoms were being transported as units are available," said a spokesperson for the Beaumont Police Department.

The students who didn't go to the hospital were bused to a nearby high school. Many of the ones who weren't sick were shaken up.

"That really compounded the issue today," said James Sheffield with the Houston Fire Department. "Whether it be here or at West Brook High School, it was just the anxiety of everything."

Beaumont ISD says none of the students or staff affected today suffered serious or life-threatening injuries.

A Beaumont ISD spokesperson said the carbon monoxide leak apparently started in a boiler.

Marshall Middle School has no carbon monoxide detectors. Capt. White said they're not required.

The Houston Fire Department sent 10 employees to Beaumont along with a vehicle outfitted with equipment that can determine carbon monoxide levels in a patient's blood.

Beaumont school district officials canceled school Friday while the investigation continued into the cause of the leak.