Tests continue on chemicals at Plymouth school

Emergency workers and others stood near Manomet Elementary School Monday afternoon.

George Rizer for the Globe

There was a heavy public safety presence at Manomet Elementary School Monday afternoon.

Manomet Elementary School in Plymouth remained closed today as state Department of Public Health crews sought to determine what made about a dozen people sick Monday and may have killed the school’s head custodian.

Chester Flattery, 53, was found dead by a school employee Monday morning about an hour after he arrived at the school for a routine summer cleaning. Firefighters, police and other first responders became ill after entering the building, apparently from exposure to hazardous chemicals.


But Plymouth Fire Chief Ed Bradley said Tuesday that none of the tests performed at the school had turned up dangerous readings. He said it was possible that Flattery’s death was not caused by whatever chemicals caused headaches and other symptoms in the emergency responders.

“It’s entirely possible that the fumes and the smell … are not what killed Mr. Flattery,” Bradley said.

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The health department and other agencies are back at the school today using more sophisticated testing equipment, Bradley said. Should those tests also reveal no danger, the school will be turned back over to the district. The medical examiner will also conduct an autopsy to determine what killed Flattery, whom friends and relatives described as a generous, well-liked family man who loved music.

Bradley said the firefighters made sick Monday were ordered to stay home from work today in case more symptoms developed.

Nestor Ramos can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @NestorARamos.
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