11 Students sent to hospital after diesel fuel leak

Emergency crews treat a group of people who say they were sickened by bus fumes.

November 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Friday night, a bizarre diesel spill on board a Bay Area school bus sends nearly a dozen high school students to the hospital. The students from Woodside High School on the peninsula were heading home from a field trip to Yuba River when the trouble began. The bus had to pull off Interstate 680 in Pleasant Hill.

After the ordeal, most of the students headed home to the peninsula on a replacement bus. However, 11 students had to be sent to various hospitals in the East Bay because they needed to be treated for exposure to diesel fuel that flooded the floor of their school bus.

The school bus with 38 11th grade Woodside High School students and chaperones was traveling along Highway 680 when diesel fuel began flooding the floor of the bus. The bus turned off on Contra Costa Boulevard, right across the street from the Pleasant Hill Shopping Center. That's where the driver called police as students were evacuated from the bus.

"The driver recognized there was a fuel spill going on actually inside the school bus. The driver took the exit and pulled off here onto Contra Costa Boulevard and approximately 11 of the 35 kids were sent to local hospitals for treatment for the fumes," said CHP Sgt. Mike Humble.

The students were returning from an environmental trip up the Yuba River. Some of the students complained of burns on their feet from walking barefoot in the diesel fuel that flooded the floor. Others complained of not being able to breath after inhaling the fumes.

The remaining students were treated at the scene by firefighters and then escorted to another Sequoia Union District bus which headed back to the peninsula.

The Sequoia Union High School District sent along a tow truck to pick up the bus and take it back to the yard to find out exactly why this leak occurred. Parents of the injured students at four area hospitals are on their way to those hospitals to be with their children.