15 at Camp Ave exposed to ‘black smoke,’ taken to hospital

14 children and 1 teacher treated at hospital and released


Ambulances rushed one teacher and 14 students Thursday afternoon from Camp Avenue School in North Merrick to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow due to possible carbon monoxide poisoning. All 15 were evaluated at the hospital and released, according to NUMC spokeswoman Shelly Lotenberg.

North Merrick Superintendent David Feller said some of the children in the sixth-grade class of teacher Katherine Pascarella complained of nausea. He said the school nurse evaluated the children and school officials called 911 as a precaution.

“It looks as if all the children are fine,” Feller said. “Really we called 911 as a precaution. We wanted to make sure that the children, if they needed any medical attention, received it right away. We also sent out an emergency telephone message to all of our parents to let them know what we were doing.”

The school building was temporarily evacuated, Feller said. North Merrick Fire Department members checked the school for carbon monoxide and found none, according to Feller and James Rogers, the department’s first assistant chief. School officials then permitted children and staff to re-enter the building, Feller said.

There were at least six ambulances, six police cars, two fire trucks, one fire chief’s car and one Nassau County Hazardous Materials vehicle outside Camp Avenue School at about 2:30 p.m. In addition to the North Merrick Fire Department and the Nassau County Police Department, the Merrick Fire Department, North Bellmore Fire Department, Bellmore Fire Department, Freeport Fire Department and Bellmore-Merrick Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene.

A cluster of parents stood by the side of the building, waiting to see their children. Dozens of emergency responders descended on the front of Camp Avenue School, including a few who carried a child with an oxygen mask over his face on a stretcher down the front steps of the school. Police blocked off traffic at the intersection of Merrick Avenue and Camp Avenue and the intersection of Merrick Avenue and Little Whaleneck Avenue.

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