TUNNELTON, W.Va. — Officials with the Preston County Office of Emergency Services confirmed 37 students at Tunnelton-Denver Elementary School in Preston County were taken by ambulance to hospitals in three counties Friday.

It followed an air quality incident that also prompted a school evacuation.

An unknown number of students were taken to hospitals in private vehicles.  Estimates indicated more than 50 students total may have been treated.

It started Friday morning when officials said dozens of students started complaining of respiratory problems.

Craig Schmidl, assistant superintendent of schools in Preston County, told MetroNews Affiliate WAJR-AM in Morgantown there were concerns about possible carbon monoxide fumes that originated outside of the school with a malfunctioning furnace.

“Next door to the school, there is a business that uses an outside furnace.  We have the main campus as well as two modular units on that campus, the smoke from the outside furnace got pulled into the ventilation system for the two modular units,” said Schmidl.

Schmidl said there were no apparent injuries, but concerns about possible carbon monoxide exposure lead to the hospital trips.  “Carbon monoxide has not been confirmed, but we did call EMS,” Schmidl said on Friday.

Students were treated at Mon General Hospital, Preston Memorial Hospital, Ruby Memorial Hospital and Grafton City Hospital.

Officers with the Division of Natural Resources are investigating the incident.

The school was scheduled to reopen Monday.

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