Carbon monoxide at Coulwood Middle School caused by cafeteria appliance, officials say

The improper operation of a cafeteria appliance at Coulwood Middle School was the source of the carbon monoxide that forced the school to evacuate briefly on Thursday, officials said.

The Charlotte Fire Department said firefighters were called to the school on Kentberry Drive at 11:52 a.m., after the CO detectors in the cafeteria activated. The county health department was on the scene conducting a food inspection at the time.

A spokeswoman for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said all students and staff were evacuated initially. By 12:45 p.m., the students and staff were moved to other areas of the school.

No students were affected; two staff members were evaluated by Medic at the scene, according to the fire department.

Firefighters used large fans to remove the toxic gas – which registered at 67 parts per million when officials first arrived – the department said. Crew members also monitored the entire building for other signs or sources.

Building maintenance and county environmental services remained at the school to check that all other kitchen equipment was working properly, according to the fire department.

Staff writer Steve Lyttle contributed.