36 students sickened by fumes from nearby sewer repair project

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SAN DIEGO -- One student was sent to the hospital and 36 others complained of feeling ill after fumes from a nearby construction project wafted to a San Diego elementary school.

Paramedics and fire-rescue units were called to Zamorano Elementary School at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday after one student complained of shortness of breath because of the noxious odor, according to school officials.

The fumes came from resin that was being used to repair a nearby sewer line at 2655 Casey St., officials said.

Helicopter video showed several emergency vehicles responding to the school and dozens of students who apparently evacuated the building, anxious parents lined the gates outside the school.

“It’s really scary for parents standing out here not really knowing what’s going on with their kids," said a woman named Ilima.

"They just said she was affected and feeling dizzy," said Roland Alan, a parent. "I trust the school. The nurse called me."

Some parents were upset and said the school and district could have done a better job notifying parents.

"What the district is doing is wrong," said Roy, another parent. "You see these news helicopters and fire engines out here? How does that make a parent feel? We are hearing nothing."

Alan said he was able to keep his stress level in check knowing his daughter was in good hands.

"I trust the school, I trust the paramedics, I trust the fire department and I think everything’s fine," said Alan.

San Diego Unified School District tweeted that the fumes were not toxic and the school was deemed safe around 11:35 a.m.

In all, 36 students complained of effects from the fumes, but only one was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

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