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Mysterious Toxin Forces Jeffco Open School To Evacuate

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Emergency crews responded to Jefferson County Open School Monday afternoon after 30 students and one adult experienced an allergic reaction to a mysterious toxin.

An image from Copter4 (credit: CBS)

An image from Copter4 (credit: CBS)

The patients experienced some sort of skin irritation and had to be decontaminated. Seven students were hospitalized.

The incident began when children on the playground started complaining about burning eyes.

An image from Copter4 (credit: CBS)

An image from Copter4 (credit: CBS)

“They called me from the nurse’s office to have me come pick him up,” a father said. “By the time I got here everything was roped off.”

One young girl who was washed down in the decontamination process said she was experiencing a stomach ache.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Very uncomfortable; at first I had to step in a thing of water with my shoes and my clothes on and they had to hose down my head,” the girl said. “It was really cold.”

The school is located in the 7600 block of West 10th Avenue near Wadsworth Boulevard.

An image from Copter4 (credit: CBS)

An image from Copter4 (credit: CBS)

It’s not clear what the irritant was. Initially there was a concern that fertilizer put down on the soccer field was the cause, but the school district said that was done more than two weeks ago and firefighters ruled that out as a cause.

Firefighters tested the school with monitors which registered something toxic, but there wasn’t enough of it to determine the cause.

“We had different hits of some toxic irritant type stuff. We have ruled out fertilizer,” a firefighter said.

The highest indication of the toxin came from the playground near the fields.

The school was evacuated to the nearby First Presbyterian Church of Lakewood located at 8210 West 10th Avenue.

Classes have been called off for Tuesday.

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