Queens school reopens after water sickens kids

June 2, 2010 5:04:51 AM PDT
School re-opened Wednesday at a campus in Queens after dozens of elementary students got sick from drinking at a water fountain. It happened at PS 20 in on Barclay Avenue in Flushing Tuesday. A poster-sized letter is on the front door of the building, explaining to parents and students exactly what happened.

More than 70 children complaining of stomach pains were sent to the hospital after they drank pink-tinted water from the water fountains. Investigators think that water may have been contaminated by air conditioner coolant.

Bottled water will be provided at the school until tests show the water is clean.

"I think it's pretty weird and like scary," one student said.

All at once, dozens of students were sickened after they sipped water from fountains in a new wing of the school, where a worker was fixing a faulty central air system. Shortly after, they complained of stomach aches.

Now, officials believe coolant accidentally got pumped into the water supply.

The children were rushed to the hospital, and all are expected to make full recoveries. Some students stayed overnight for observation.

"They said that their stomachs started hurting them and everything," babysitter Jessica Cornejo said. "And they felt pain and started aching."

The chemicals in the coolant are not highly toxic, according to officials. The students also say they saw pink water in the school toilets.

The school's water has been shut off until the lines can be de-contaminated.