LURAY, Va. (WHSV) — A stream of ambulances responded to Luray High School on Friday when up to a dozen band students practicing outdoors were overcome by heat. A rescuer told WHSV's Terry Ward that the "Luray Rescue Squad, Stanley Rescue Squad, Shenandoah Rescue Squad, Page County Fire/EMS, Luray PD and Virginia State Police" were among responding agencies.
A ValleyHealth Page Memorial Hospital medical staff member said it was rumored that some patients arrived in private vehicles while others arrived by ambulance. The situation seemed to be heat-related, and the patients were treated and released. A photo shared to WHSV shows several ambulances grouped around the hospital's entry at the same time after having transported their patients.
One rescuer praised the police who, when not otherwise busy, helped shunt inactive emergency vehicles around the high school parking lot to make room for the priority vehicles. Thus, ambulance crews on site were less occupied with driving, "allowing us to put our attention on patient care," in that rescuer's words. The rescuer continued: "It may not sound like much but, when you have a dozen or more emergency vehicles in a parking lot it can become a mess quickly; they jumped in the trucks and did what was needed to help."
Meteorologist Justin Rose with WHSV said the area's highs were in the low 90s at the time —and humidity could make it feel more like the low 100s. "Heat fatigue could set in pretty quickly with temperatures like that," said Rose.
On the official Facebook page of Page County Public Schools at around 8:30 p.m., this status update appeared:
"Important Note from the Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Donna Whitley-Smith: We would like to provide accurate information in regard to a heat related incident that occurred today in Page County Schools. Students were overcome with heat and required medical attention, but it appears that all affected have now recovered. This incident did not occur during a sport's practice, but rather during a band practice. It has raised the awareness of all of us as to the danger of high heat and humidity. We appreciate the community's concern and are thankful that no one suffered long term effects."
The actual number of students involved has not yet been officially released. On Friday, a hospital source confirmed to WHSV that it could have been up to a dozen. On Saturday, a public safety source said perhaps five were transported by ambulance. It was unclear how many were treated at the scene and how many were sent to the hospital by private car.
This is a developing story. WHSV will update the information as new detail comes in from our inquiries and from official sources.