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19 sickened after exposure to pepper spray at Park City High

Posted at 4:14 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 10:10:23-04

PARK CITY, Utah — A Park City Fire District spokesperson, Tricia Hazelrigg, said 19 people suffered a sensation of burning in the lungs and abdominal cramping Monday afternoon after they were exposed to pepper spray at Park City High School.

“Some complained of lingering burning sensation in their lungs,” Hazelrigg said.

The incident was first reported as a gas leak around 2 p.m., after school had let out for the day. Members of the faculty and some remaining students evacuated the building.

Fox13 spoke to one of those students, 15-year-old Jesse Helton. He felt needle like feelings in his lungs when he walked into the school.

“A bunch of kids were like crying and coughing and all of a sudden I turn the corner I took a deep breath in and that’s when it hit me. It felt like chlorine was in my throat, bunch of needles.” Helton said.

A school resource officer who assessed the situation determined there wasn’t actually a gas leak.

“UPDATE on HazMat situation: just a little while ago school faculty received information from a student confessing to releasing pepper spray in the school,” a tweet from PCFD said.

Emergency medical workers transported one of the 19 people affected to a hospital.

Classes will resume at the school on Tuesday.