2 elementary schools closed, 40 kids to hospitals after Cicero gas leak

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Two Cicero elementary schools were closed and about 40 children taken to hospitals as a precaution this afternoon after a crew planting a tree struck a gas main in the west suburb, a spokesman said.

Both Cicero East and Cicero West elementary schools were closed after a landscaping crew struck the gas line about noon in the 4900 block of West 24th Place, according to an email from Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania.

At first, the Cicero Fire Department had outside intakes for Cicero East, 4924 S. 49th Avenue, and Cicero West, 4937 W. 23rd St., closed, as only two teachers who had had their windows open and a child with asthma complained of illness, but the Fire Department decided to close the schools as a precaution and take as many as 40 children to hospitals, Hanania said.

Cicero and Nicor Gas Co. crews were working to stop the leak in the 2-inch gas main, Cicero said.

Ambulances from Oak Park, North Riverside, Stickney and Berwyn helped in the incident.

Check back for updates.

-Chicago Tribune staff report

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