13 students sickened following hazmat incident at Delco high school

- The Rose Tree Media School District released a statement Saturday morning confirming that an ozone air purifying unit had discharged in a locker room following a football game at Penncrest High School, briefly sickening several students.

Thirteen students were taken to local hospitals for either precautionary checks or treatment for asthmatic reactions around 10 p.m. on Friday. All have been released and are doing fine, per school officials.

According to officials, the ozone ceiling unit was unplugged, and Delaware County Hazmat crews were able to determine within 45 minutes that the locker room air quality was good.

"The ozone air purifying units in the district’s locker rooms normally discharge late at night," the school district said in a press release. "Health officials recommended several years ago that the district install them in all locker rooms. It appears this unit’s timer was out of sync or set improperly. All of the units in the district have been unplugged as the district works to ensure that all units are in working order, and timers are properly set. The units do receive regular service. They are fairly common in locker rooms and other places where moisture is present, presenting an environment conducive to bacterial growth."

“We’re very pleased that all of our students are doing fine and are grateful to the many emergency responders who were on the scene so swiftly,” said Rose Tree Media School District Superintendent Jim Wigo. “We felt very supported by our county service providers and are thankful that this situation was resolved so quickly. The safety of our students and staff is always our first priority.”

A full day basketball tournament scheduled for Penncrest High School on Saturday will not be impacted by the incident, the school noted. The locker room is clean and sanitized, and coaches have been notified about the situation.

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