Roanoke College

July 14, 1 p.m.: Update on Sections Incident


A carbon monoxide  incident in a residence hall at Roanoke College early Friday morning sent dozens of campus visitors to area hospitals and may have contributed to one fatality.

Medical examiners have not yet determined the cause of death, but an elderly participant in a visiting conference for a group called Power in the Spirit has passed away. Sections Hall was housing about 100 visitors from that Lutheran conference and about 37 teenagers who are on campus for a program called Upward Bound.

At about 7 a.m., two of the campus visitors reported feeling ill. Campus Safety notified Salem emergency workers, and when they arrived and discovered others ill, they pulled the fire alarm and evacuated the building. Anyone showing symptoms was transported to local hospitals for evaluation. More than 40 people have been treated at Lewis Gale Medical Center and about 36 at Carilion.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this,” said Dr. Sabine O’Hara, president of the College. “We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of all people on our campus and provide support for those who have been affected.”

Dr. O’Hara had been out of town, but is returning to campus today.