MYNORTHWEST NEWS

1 student dead by suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at Evergreen State College

Dec 12, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Dec 13, 2023, 5:54 am

Image: A Washington State Patrol vehicle...

A Washington State Patrol vehicle (Photo: Andrew Kim, Flickr)

(Photo: Andrew Kim, Flickr)

A student is dead, and two others were hospitalized at Evergreen State College because of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, as first reported by The Olympian.

The Thurston County Coroner confirmed the death, identifying the student as 21-year-old Jonathan Rodriguez of Dupont.

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According to a media release from the college, a contractor working on campus near a student housing building first responded to carbon monoxide alarms.

“The alarm system had gone off earlier in the day and the contractor had been out and I believe they had last been on campus around 7 p.m.,” Kelly von Holtz, a representative from Evergreen, said.

After a student residence manager wasn’t able to contact students living in the building later that evening, campus police were called. Police broke down the door of the housing unit around 8:10 p.m. and performed CPR on the three students who were found, according to a Thurston County dispatcher.

“The modular unit where the incident happened is closed off,” von Hotz said. “Campus housing has all been checked and cleared.”

A responding officer was also injured but did not need to be hospitalized.

“This is a tragedy and we grieve for our students and families,” said Evergreen President John Carmichael.

Washington State Patrol (WSP) spokesman Chris Loftis said they are investigating the death.

“I’ve been here for two years now. The maintenance team here does the best they can but they’re student workers,” a resident assistant for Evergreen State College told KIRO Newsradio. “They’re trying their best, but there’s only so much they can do especially since all these buildings are like super old and patched by the cheapest contractors they could find.”

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Students in adjacent housing were notified on Monday, according to the college. A college spokesperson stated every living unit on campus has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

“My kitchen window is right across and I can see into both windows into both rooms in the house across,” one neighboring student, Jacob Benjamin, told KIRO Newsradio. “I was cooking and I just happened to look through my window. There was an officer coming through the door with three firefighters and they were picking him up.”

Chris Pennington, a senior at Evergreen College living next door, said alarms are not infrequent, happening quite often on and surrounding campus.

I want the school to succeed. Honestly, this is a very unique place. But when this kind of stuff happens, it’s just going to kill the school,” Pennington said. “If no one’s going to send their students because they don’t feel safe, then that’s going to be the death throes of it. We have a rich history here and I don’t want it to fail.”

Contributing: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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1 student dead by suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at Evergreen State College