UPDATE: Classes Set To Resume After Odor Sickens Students

By: WIFR Newsroom
By: WIFR Newsroom

CORTLAND, Ill. (AP) -- Classes are expected to resume at a northern Illinois elementary school after more than 60 students, teachers and staff were treated at a hospital when they became overcome by a sour odor from a nearby landfill.

The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reports the incident at Cortland Elementary School was reported Tuesday morning. The 530-student school is about three miles from DeKalb.

Authorities say the smell likely came from the landfill when a contractor tapped a pocket of decomposing trash. Officials haven't determined what gas was released, but doctors say the 63 people taken to Kishwaukee Hospital were treated for low levels of carbon monoxide exposure.

Environmental regulators are expected to visit the landfill later this week.

Superintendent James Briscoe says employees opened the school's doors to air out the building.


CORTLAND, Ill. (AP) -- About four dozen students and employees of a northern Illinois elementary school were taken to the hospital after landfill gas leaked nearby.

Officials at Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb say none of the injuries or illnesses were life threatening. WDKB radio reports students and faculty at Cortland Elementary School in Cortland reported dizziness and other symptoms. Cortland is a town of about 4,300 residents just east of DeKalb.

The school was closed for the rest of the day Tuesday.


CORTLAND (WIFR) -- Some Cortland Elementary School students and staff felt nauseous this morning after methane gas released from the nearby landfill got caught in the school's ventilation system, DeKalb District 428 Superintendent James Briscoe said.

Waste Management crews replacing pipes released methane into the air and the wind carried it to the school, Briscoe said. School crews noticed the odor just before 10 a.m., and notified Waste Management officials.

By 11 a.m., school officials called emergency crews and were ventilating the building. Only a handful of children and staff members reported feeling ill, but school officials are monitoring students and notifying parents of those who feel sick.

"I'm in the building," Briscoe said about 11:30 a.m. "When I walked in, it was clear outside already. We're ventilating the building."
Briscoe plans to discuss the situation with Waste Management officials soon to see if they can avoid replacing these pipes during school hours.

Firefighter and paramedics from several departments are on the scene, including Cortland, DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston and Maple Park


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