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Odor a mystery in Miami-Yoder school

By Joe Dominguez, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau , j.dominguez@krdo.com
Published On: Mar 05 2014 08:27:59 AM CST

School leaders in the Miami-Yoder school district are looking into strange smells that may be a faulty propane system.

RUSH, Colo. -

Possible gas leaks in the Miami-Yoder school are frustrating school district leaders and angering some parents.

The school in Rush is home to a wide range of kids from pre-kindergartners to high school seniors. So far just the 6th-grade wing is problematic.

The odor was first reported February 13th. After a couple of minor fixes to the propane system the wing was given the all clear.

The next morning the smell was noticed again and classes were moved out of that section of the school. Some of those classes are being held in the hallway. All other classes continue as normal in the school.

Local firefighters have been a part of the monitoring process. Rick Walter, superintendent of the district, said they have cleared the rest of the building and there is no imminent danger to kids.

"There's never been a heavy enough concentration that we've been completely concerned that gas was going through the entire building," said Walter.

Meanwhile concern among parents is building. Parents who wanted to remain anonymous said some kids have complained of getting sick and being light-headed at school.

According to Walter, around four students have been kept home because of the issue and he does understand the concern.

"Clearly, some students are more sensitive to smells and odors, and we won't discount that as a safety issue," said Walter.

Walter said because the 6th-grade wing contains a science lab in it, the odd smells could be coming from chemicals or other items that give off a strong odor.

"Some of the smells that come out of a science lab can be quite noxious," said Walter.

Some parents have wondered if the gas leak is a construction flaw. Walter said the construction was finished in 2010 and problems just materialized last month.

An environmental assessment done by a private company is underway. If  the leak or smell can't be explained, Walter said the section of the building will remain closed and he'll ask the state health department for help.

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