Officials in Plymouth are scrambling to figure out what caused a scary hazardous materials incident that claimed the life of a senior custodian at Manomet Elementary School this morning. Police responded to a report of a body inside the building, but it was not immediately known if it was related the ongoing hazmat incident or if it was an unrelated occurrence. Upon investigating the death of the school employee, two police officers and another unidentified person became ill and needed to be transported to the hospital. Boston.com reports that a total of ten people, including nine school employees were taken the hospital with minor symptoms. Most had been treated and released.
It is unclear what caused the illness, and officials are investigating whether the incident is related work being done on the building, or if it was caused by another unknown source. The state fire marshal is conducting an investigation and said more information would be available later in the afternoon, but did say that chemical levels in the building appeared to be “very low.”
It is very early in the investigation and there are quite a bit of conflicting reports pouring in. CBS Boston reports that an EMS worker was treated for carbon monoxide exposure, which could possibly lend a clue as to what the situation was inside the building at the time of the accident. Police are treating it as an active crime scene and not allowing any emergency vehicle past the long driveway up the school as they work to figure out the source of the chemical poisoning.
The wife of Chester Flattery, the victim, was understandably devastated and commented that “her husband had left for work this morning and all seemed normal,” according the Boston Globe. A kindergarten teacher at the elementary school was shocked to hear the news and described Flattery as a “wonderful, a very much ‘give you the shirt off his back kind of guy,'” also according to the Globe.
Though the situation is both scary and still very much active, it could have been absolutely devastating had the school been occupied with children and teachers at the time. Fortunately, students are on summer vacation and there were now reports as of 5:00 pm of any children being injured.
This is an active scene and updates will be posted when more information becomes available.
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