FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - More than two dozen students and one adult employee at a Fort Lauderdale high school were taken to the hospital after they suddenly became ill on campus.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded to Cardinal Gibbons High School after multiple people began to feel faint and dizzy, Monday at around noon.
“My whole body was really hot, and then I started to get dizzy when I stood up,” said student Jason Fry.
The school had just completed an assembly in the gym for Thanksgiving prayer, and that’s when about five to eight students started to pass out.
“I saw two kids faint,” said Fry.
“I had a headache, but I think it was just because I was a little stressed by what was going on,” said student Adreanna Pierre.
A total of 27 patients, including 26 students and one employee, were taken to multiple hospitals after reports of several issues like feeling lightheaded and woozy. Some suffered seizures and nosebleeds, while others lost consciousness.
They were taken to Broward General Medical Center, Broward North and Holy Cross Hospital.
“It started with one girl passing out, and she fell and had to hang on to the staircase,” said student Daden Louis-Williams.
“Then, as we went to our classroom, more people were passing out,” said Pierre, “and then went to our next class, and more people were passing out.”
Hazmat crews were called to the scene to help with the investigation. However, nothing abnormal was found.
Any suspicion of drugs was also ruled out.
Hazmat crews conducted three sweeps of the campus testing for 5,000 different chemicals, but all tests came back negative. What caused everyone to get sick remains a mystery.
“There’s too many students, and it’s too widespread,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan. “It’s not grouped to one specific social group of students.”
Fort Lauderdale Police said the area of concern has been contained, and there is no threat to other students.
School officials said parents were notified immediately.
Parents 7News spoke with expressed their concern.
“Very scary, you don’t want to hear that there’s any kind of lockdown at your kid’s school,” said parent Alena Antonelli. “You think the worst immediately.”
Those transported were cleared and released from the hospital.
Cardinal Gibbons High School principal Paul Ott is hoping for the best.
“Hopefully it’s the flu. As you know, they’ve done several sweeps. They found nothing in our buildings,” Ott said. “Our kids were spectacular. The worst thing that happened to them is that they’re very hungry because they were unable to eat lunch.”
Meanwhile, Fry said he’s just thankful to be heading home, even though the doctors couldn’t tell him what made him sick at school.
“They weren’t really sure what had happened,” he said. “All my tests were negative and so were the other people’s, so I don’t know if I’ll ever know.”
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, Oakland Park Fire and Pompano Beach Fire departments assisted in the transport of the patients.
The cause of the illness is still under investigation.
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