Seventeen Harmony Middle School students were treated at Inova Loudoun Hospital in Lansdowne this morning after they inhaled fumes from an overheated school bus.
The bus was traveling along Berlin Turnpike near Purcellville when the engine began to smoke. The initial call to emergency services was for a fire on a school bus, but when firefighters arrived on the scene, they found it was smoke caused by a fuel leak, according to an email from Harmony Principal Eric Stewart to parents.
He said the concern was that the 32 students on the bus were exposed to dangerous fumes. “After each student was assessed at the scene, it was determined that none had serious injuries. I accompanied 17 students to the Pediatric Unit at Lansdowne Inova where they are being examined as a safety precaution,” he added.
Some of the students tested positive for an increased level of CO2, or carbon dioxide, according to Wayde Byard, Loudoun County Public Schools’ public information officer, and they were taken the hospital as a precaution. “They do not have any dire medical emergency,” he added. “They are all being released or taken back to school at this point.”
Fifteen of the students on the bus were not taken in for medical treatment and returned to school. “These students reported no issues at the scene to emergency services and have been checked by the school nurse. All parents with students on Bus 177 have been contacted,” Stewart said.
Mo Thomas, whose son was on the bus, said her son is fine but she stressed that the incident highlights the need for more funding for the Transportation Department or, better yet, a middle school in or near Lovettsville.
“It reiterates the point that we need schools out here instead of busing the kids,” she said. “Taxpayers were promised a school, so people moved out here. And we’re still waiting for a school.”