UPDATE: Honoka’a Schools Evacuate Due To Chemical Odor
***Note: This story has been updated at 1:10 p.m. to include additional information from Hawai’i County Civil Defense and the Department of Education.***
The cause of Thursday’s Honoka’a school evacuations has been traced to a nearby residence.
According to the Department of Education, the Hawai’i County Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials investigators found that a nearby resident was using a mix of chemicals to spray his yard.
A DOE spokesperson says that about 50 people were sent to nearby medical centers for treatment, due to symptoms of nausea, dizziness, and respiratory issues. Of those patients, about 40 of them were students from Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. The others were adults from the same campus.
No injuries were reported from Honoka’a Elementary School.
According to Hawai’i County Civil Defense, students that are not able to be picked up from school are being accommodated at the Honoka’a Sports Complex Gymnasium under supervision from school staff.
***Original story posted at 11:01 a.m.***
Honoka’a Elementary, Intermediate and High Schools are being evacuated and are closed for the day as a precaution from a chemical odor.
According to a Hawai’i County Police Department press release, students who ride the bus are being bused home.
For students who don’t ride the bus, parents may pick up high school and intermediate students on Mamane Street. Elementary school students are to be picked up on Pakalana Street.
Pakalana Street is closed to everyone else at this time.
The Hawai’i County Fire Department’s Haz-Mat team is responding.
The Department of Education will provide parents with additional information by telephone.
The public is advised to avoid the area unless they are picking up students.
Keep checking back with Big Island Now for more information.