HONOKAA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Students at Honokaa Elementary and Honokaa High & Intermediate were sent home at around 10:45 a.m.Thursday due to a strong chemical odor that affected about 50 people at the High & Intermediate school. According to hazardous materials (HAZMAT) investigators, the odor was traced to a nearby resident who was using a mix of chemicals to spray his yard.
Honokaa High & Intermediate school officials notified the Hawaii County Fire Department of the chemical odor shortly after 9 a.m. Fire HAZMAT crews arrived on scene and advised school officials to evacuate the schools due to the strong odor. School officials immediately notified parents and coordinated early student bus transportation.
About 40 students and 10 adults from Honokaa High & Intermediate school who reported feeling symptoms of nausea, dizziness and respiratory problems were sent to nearby medical centers for treatment. There were no reports of medical issues at Honokaa Elementary, which is located across the street from the High & Intermediate school.
Investigators advised school officials of the source of the smell at 11:15 a.m.
The schools will resume their regular schedules tomorrow. Honokaa Elementary enrolls some 364 students while about 600 students attend Honokaa High & Intermediate.