Strange odor causes evacuation at Kamiloiki Elementary SchoolUPDATED 10:25 PM HST Nov 26, 2013Video Transcript
Classes were disrupted for more than 400 students at Kamiloiki Elementary. Good evening, I'm Paula Akana. A strange odor that lingered on the elementary school campus this morning was followed by a mass evacuation. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has our top story at 5. Andrew? Paula, fire fighters say they also smelled the strange odor when arriving at the Hawaii Kai school. But so far, the source of the odor remains unknown. Flashing lights on emergency vehicles, not what ANY parent wants to see when arriving at their child's school. Worry set in when Kamiloiki Elementary blasted emails and activated a phone tree. ROBIN REICHERT: "I GUESS I WAS A LITTLE BIT PANICKED. YOU USUALLY DON'T LIKE TO RECEIVE A PHONE CALL LIKE THAT." The school informed parents of a strange odor permeating around campus - it began in the C building at about 9 a.m. CAMERON FRIEL: "IT SMELLED LIKE GAS AND IT WAS LIKE A TERRIBLE SMELL." The immediate suspect, a pesticide like melathion, which forced two Ewa Beach elementary schools to keep children in classrooms on Monday. As the smell spread throughout the Ka-milo-iki campus and children became ill, the school activated its crisis plan. SUSAN OKANO: "WE CHECKED AROUND SEEING IF ANYBODY WAS SPRAYING SOMETHING AROUND THERE IN THEIR YARDS; DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING." But the smell WAS there. Honolulu Fire Fighters used field meters to try and pick up a positive reading. CAPT. TERRY SEELIG: "WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FIND A SOURCE, OR AN ACTUAL CONFIRMATION OF A RELEASE, BUT WE HAVE DETECTED VERY FAINT ODOR OURSELF IN SOME OUTSIDE AREAS OF THE CAMPUS." As HFD converged, 16 students received a once over from paramedics. SHAYNE ENRIGHT: "WE LINED THEM UP INSIDE THE LIBRARY AND WE WENT THROUGH CHECKING EACH ONE FOR THEIR VITALS." CAMERON FRIEL: "THE AMBULANCE ASKED HOW I DID, THEY CHECKED MY BLOOD PRESSURE, MY TEMPERATURE." Two 10-year-old girls were taken to the hospital after complaining of nausea and a dry cough With the smell INSIDE some classrooms, the decision was made to get out, as in off campus. About 450 students and staff made the 1.5 trek to Kaiser High. JUSTIN REICHERT: "EVERYBODY LIKE THOUGHT IT WAS A BAD SMELL SO WE HAD TO GO HERE." Relieved parents were reunited with their kids on the Kaiser campus - a happy ending to an eventful day at school. ROBIN REICHERT: "EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE VERY ORGANIZED, PEOPLE WERE CALM; THE COMMUNICATION WAS EXCELLENT." In 2007, Mayor Kirk Caldwell helped pass a law through the state legislature that requires labeling on pesticides. The labeling must explain how to safely use the pesticide to protect health and the environment. Again, it's unknown what kids and staff at Kamiloiki Elementary smelled today. Paula?