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Gas Leak Near Cicero Schools Sends Children To Hospitals

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UPDATED: 11/21/2013 4:10 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 40 children were sent to the hospital and two Cicero Elementary schools were closed after reports of a gas leak in the area on Thursday.

A landscaping company was trying to plant a tree and damaged a two-inch gas line around noon at 4923 W. 24th Place, officials said.

Cicero East is located at 2324 S. 49th Ave. and West is located nearby at 4937 W. 23rd St.

Workers capped the line by 2 p.m. and both schools were tested, no gas was detected and the schools have reopened.

The students not sent to the hospital were taken to a nearby community center and Unity Junior High.

Eighteen of the students were taken to hospitals in good condition. Another 20 students refused treatment, officials said.

“My youngest, he was in the nurses’ office, when I went to go get him, so that freaked me out,” said Daniela Gonzalez, whose 6-year-old son, Jayden Gonzalez, attends Cicero West.

“It was like the smell,” said Jayden. “It came into my classroom, so we opened the door. We went to the bathroom and I started to have a headache.”

Ambulances were called from several towns to assist the Cicero Fire Department.

The children reported they smelled gas and were taken to the hospital as a precaution, said Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania.

There were no reports of serious injuries, Hanania said.

Ambulances from Oak Park, North Riverside, Stickney and Berwyn responded to the schools.