The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 6, 2014

Update: 27 hospitalized from Springfield School

By Amanda Dyslin

---- — SPRINGFIELD — Carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected to have caused 27 people, including children, from Springfield School to be hospitalized at Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield.

“That's what's suspected right now, but we can't say with 100 percent certainty,” said Micah Dorfner, a spokesperson for Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

Thursday morning 11 people were brought to the hospital. That number had grown to 27 by midday. 

The patients' symptoms have yet to be released. It's unknown how many students were among those sick, but Amanda Horkey, a parent of a sixth-grader, said many fifth-graders were among those affected.

Horkey said the school (which houses grades K-12) was evacuated and students were taken to the community center. The school has been closed for the day. 

Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato staff has gone to Springfield to deal with what Kevin Burns, director of communications, called a “large-scale event” due to the number of people affected in a single event. Mayo One is also on standby in Springfield.

“We have activated our emergency response plan. That is a structure that allows us to make sure we have adequate staff and other resources and procedures in place to respond to an event such as this,” Burns said. “We practice this with local law enforcement and first responders on a regular basis. … Because of that and because we take this very seriously, we've been able to respond very well to this large-scale event in Springfield.”

The Springfield fire and police departments and Springfield Supt. Keith Kottke couldn't be reached. The Brown County Sheriff''s Office referred questions to Springfield police.