Caney Creek HS will not have classes Friday amid odor that hospitalized 6 students, principal says

Lileana Pearson Image
Friday, May 5, 2023
6 students hospitalized due to mysterious fumes at Conroe ISD school
At least one person was loaded onto an ambulance after Caney Creek High School was evacuated due to a concerning odor that was detected Wednesday.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Caney Creek High School will not have classes on Friday, as the investigation continues into an odor that prompted an evacuation on Thursday, the school principal said.

"Our investigation into the source of the odor continues as there were no findings with the smoke test," a message to parents read. "We encourage anyone with information to contact campus administration or make a report through the Anonymous Alerts app. Caney Creek HS will not have school tomorrow, Friday, May 5th, to allow the contractors to continue their investigation into the source. Just as we have throughout this situation, we will update you as we know more."

Six children, including at least one person seen stretchered into an ambulance, were treated at the hospital after Caney Creek High School's principal said students were evacuated Thursday due to a concerning odor that was first detected in the building Wednesday morning.

The Caney Creek Fire Department arrived at the school at about noon to try to determine the source, according to Principal Jeff Stichler.

"It smelled like propane, something like that. I'm not sure," one student told ABC13.

Stichler first notified parents Wednesday in an email sent out at 7:46 a.m., saying in part, "To keep you informed, CCHS was evacuated this morning due to a gas smell near the cafeteria. The Caney Creek Fire Department and CISD Maintenance Department are investigating the source, and gas has been shut off to the building while the matter is being addressed. We anticipate being able to re-enter the building shortly."

By 12:27 p.m. Wednesday, Stichler announced that the school would be letting students out early because the odor had not gone away, and authorities were still working to determine the source.

Still, classes had not been canceled for Thursday, despite the principal's last message to parents at 9:35 p.m. Wednesday, which read, "The exact source of the odor has not been determined, but many steps have been taken to ensure a clean and healthy school environment."

According to Stichler, an outside consultant examined the building, and Conroe ISD's custodial department deep-cleaned the campus Wednesday night. In addition, district plumbers checked pipes and vents and had been on school grounds Thursday morning.

"If they have gas leaks, they shouldn't even be having kids here at school right now," parent Yesenia Soto said.

SkyEye captured several Caney Creek Fire Department trucks at the school Thursday as many students and staff evacuated to the front of the campus.

"In the hallways, it was, like, really strong. You could barely breathe because of how bad the smell was," freshman Delaenya Ryals said. "You get a horrible headache, like pounding, and then we had a lot of students who were getting nausea, telling us they were going to pass out and they were coughing and couldn't breathe. So we evacuated."

The Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office said six students total were hospitalized. Their conditions were not immediately known.

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