GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Honolulu Fire Department crews and the hazardous materials team made their way yesterday through a crowd of students at Highlands Intermediate School in Pearl City, following a report of a noxious odor that sickened some students.
Smell from pesticide spill sickens Pearl City kids
Students at a Pearl City school evacuated their classrooms yesterday afternoon after 17 students and a staff member complained of reactions to an odor.
A resident on Hoomalimali Street, mauka of Highlands Intermediate School, spilled about a pint of the common pesticide Malathion sometime before 1 p.m. yesterday, said Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig. Winds blowing makai carried the smell to the campus.
This was the second school evacuation in less than a month due to the pesticide. The last occurred Feb. 15 at St. Joseph School in Waipahu, where an employee sprayed Malathion on campus.
Firefighters canvassed the area yesterday and found where the smell was coming from, Seelig said. The resident was apologetic and did not know it was causing problems at the nearby school.
Paramedics treated five of the 17 students, said Bryan Cheplic, Honolulu Emergency Services spokesman.
Most had difficulty breathing.
One was treated at the scene, three were taken in stable condition to Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi and a parent took the fifth child, in stable condition, to Pali Momi, Cheplic said. Students also complained of headaches, watery eyes, dizziness and nausea.
Principal Amy Martinson said the odor was first noticed at about 1 p.m., and students were moved from classrooms on the mauka side of the campus along Hoomaemae Street to the cafeteria, library and the band room below.
Martinson said the students were kept inside until the Fire Department's hazardous materials team gave the OK.