Hazmat Working Through the Night to Clean Mercury Spill at Hood Junior High
July 21, 2018 at 10:52 AM CDT - Updated July 21 at 10:52 AM
By: Justin Kree
News West 9
ODESSA- It was far from a normal school day for students at Hood Junior High in Odessa. On Tuesday morning a student brought a plastic bottle with about an ounce of mercury to school. According to E.C.I.S.D.officials, students played with the mercury in the cafeteria and two classrooms before school started. School is canceled for Wednesday at Hood Junior High. Hazmat crews will work throughout the night to conduct all the appropriate tests including an air quality test.
"I realized I saw the bottle that it was in. It was in a water bottle. There was water in it, but it was silver," Student said.
"20 students were actually exposed to that mercury. Actually, physically touching it," Mike Adkins (with E.C.I.S.D.) said.
About 44 other students and staff were exposed in secondary matter bringing the total to 64. They were all taken to the hospital to be treated. Classes were canceled around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon and parents had to sign-out their child. NewsWest 9 spoke with the city as far as the next step to clean up the mercury. An industrial cleanup crew based out of Dallas made its way to the school earlier Tuesday night. We're told the company is Allied International and they handle hazmat related issues.
"There going to go in and assess based on the amount of mercury that's on sight, where the contamination took place. Their expertise will determine what needs to be done next and what needs to be decontaminated," Andrea Goodson (Public Information Officer with Odessa) said.
The entire school had to be closed off as a safety measure.
"64 individuals that came in contact with this. So if they touched it and then went down the hall and touched a wall or a locker, it could spread really easily," Goodson said.
"They told us someone was playing with mercury and we couldn't touch the lockers or anything," Student said.
School will be canceled on Wednesday for Hazmat to make sure the school is safe for students and staff to return.