KINGSPORT — A suspected carbon monoxide leak at Sullivan Gardens K-8 Wednesday afternoon turned out to be an issue with a boiler that had too rich a natural gas-to-air mixture, a county official said.
Emergency responders and Sullivan County schools personnel were trying to find the cause of the problem Wednesday afternoon.
Joe Davenport, maintenance supervisor, said Boiler No. 2 was fired up for the cold weather and that a carbon monoxide monitor a teacher had plugged into an electric outlet in a classroom above the boiler room went off.
Davenport said he was notified about 1 p.m. and that middle school students went to the cafeteria of the school. He said they were there for about an hour before returning to their classrooms.
Director of Schools Jubal Yennie said some people reported a possible natural gas leak, but one could not be found, and authorities at the scene were searching for a possible carbon monoxide leak source.
Officials from the Sullivan Gardens Volunteer Fire Department, next to the school, responded and did air quality checks that found an issue near the boiler.
“(Carbon) dioxide, yes, (carbon) monoxide, I can’t confirm or deny,” Davenport said. “But we did a have a rich gas-air mixture on the boiler.”
Yennie and Davenport said to their knowledge the incident resulted in no injuries or treatment of students, staff or faculty. The middle school building is the former Sullivan West High School.
Davenport said students returned to class about 2 p.m. and remainded until school was out at 3:25 p.m. and that classes today will be held as usual.
Yennie said he doesn’t know how long the CO detector was in the classroom or much about the idea of having school system-installed CO monitors.
“We’re going to check on CO monitors and see if we want to get into that,” Yennie said.