Foul Smell Clears Classrooms at Waiau Elementary

Students and teachers evacuate Waiau Elementary School Tuesday.
Students and teachers evacuate Waiau Elementary School Tuesday.

(KHNL)  A frightening way to start the school day at Waiau Elementary in Pearl City.

A strong, chemical odor swept through the school, sending 10 kids and two teachers to the hospital.

"I feel dizzy and it smelled like rotten fish," said student Hope Bailey.

Concerned parents picked up their kids as soon as they received the call.

"I'm kind of nervous in a way too," said one parent.

Around 10 a.m., teachers and staff locked all the windows and doors, as fire crews tried to figure out the source of the smell and what was making some of the children sick.

"Teary eyes and coughing and so we went to shelter in place, we removed those children into the library," said principal Judith Elliott.

Fire officials say a nearby resident poured a pesticide, called malathion, down her driveway. The strong winds carried the odor through the school. Fire crews used simple green and water to dilute the pesticide.

"At least now I know my kids are safe and the school is taking measures to protect my kids," said parent Antonio Medina.

Although fire crews were able to get the situation under control in just a couple of hours, some parents didn't take any chances.

"I had a touch, like a headache, when I was going through there, so just to be on the safe side, keep the kids out for the day," said parent David Bailey.

The area was cleared at noon and school returned to normal.