A gas leak near two elementary schools in Cicero Thursday sent several children to local hospitals, officials said.
Cicero fire officials and officials from Nicor Gas responded to the 4900 block of West 49th Place in Cicero just before noon after a local landscaping company, drilling into the ground to plant a large tree, struck a two-inch gasoline pipeline and caused the discharge of natural gas, according to city spokesman Ray Hanania.
The Cicero Fire Department decided to close outside air intake to two elementary schools, the Cicero Community Center and were evaluating air intake at the Town Hall.
Two teachers in classrooms with windows open and one child reported nausea and were transported in good condition to area hospitals.
Cicero East and Cicero West Elementary schools with 4th and 5th graders were evacuated following the incident.
The Fire department reported a total of 18 children who had smelled the gas were transported to local hospitals as a precaution, Hanania said.
Ambulances from several neighboring communities, including Oak Park, North Riverside, Stickney and Berwyn, were called into assist with the transports.
Both schools have since been re-opened and the gas line has been capped, Hanania said.
“There are thankfully no serious injuries reported and we are working to insure that none occur,” Hanania said.
Cicero Fire Chief Ron Opalecky said that the site is being secured and that there is no danger to the public.