Students tested for carbon monoxide exposure at Cranston High School East

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Cranston High School East will be closed on Friday after students and teachers were tested for potential carbon monoxide exposure.

Officials on scene said 10 people who were inside the building Wednesday night were tested after showing symptoms such as headaches and dizziness. Three were sent to the hospital and one was confirmed to have high levels of carbon monoxide.

“Upon following up when it started and interviewing the patient, we determined that there were other students from the high school that possibly had gone home from the school yesterday sick,” Cranston Deputy Fire Chief Paul Casey explained.

No detectable levels of carbon monoxide were found inside the building on Thursday, but 40 students and staff members reported feeling similar symptoms, so emergency responders were called in to check them out.

“All their vitals, their pulse ox and their CO levels in their body were all within normal limits,” Casey said. “No children were transported to the hospital and anybody that had any symptoms were released to their parents.”

One of those students is the daughter of Michael Balasco. He said his daughter began to experience symptoms.

“My daughter called me to pick her up because she said she had a headache and she felt tired so I took her to the fire station,” he said. “At least five to ten cars were pulling up. Parents with kids, asking the same thing.”

Balasco said he wishes the school would’ve told parents sooner.

“Why did they wait a day to let the parents know?” he asked.

A company will be at the school Friday to assess the air quality inside the building.

“We’re closing the school tomorrow as an abundance of caution to make sure that we get to the bottom of it,” Cranston Schools COO Ray Votto said. “Whether it be some viral issue, or virus issue, versus carbon monoxide.”

Mayor Allan Fung said the city is working to monitor the situation, as safety is the top priority.