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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — At Cardinal Gibbons high school in Fort Lauderdale, something made 26 students and one staff member sick enough to be taken to three area hospitals beginning shortly after 11:30 a.m. Monday morning.

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“These students were having various states. Some were having syncopal episodes, we’re passing out. Some had nosebleeds, some were having shortness of breath,“ said Fort Lauderdale Battalion Chief Stephen Collan.

The students began falling ill shortly after they left a prayer service in the gymnasium. They were getting sick in classrooms and other areas all over the school.

Student taken out on stretcher from Cardinal Gibons High. (Source: CBS4)

“They were like passing out and stuff like that. Some people started having nosebleeds. Some of the people were having ear pain,“ said student Gustavo Hernandez.

Some parents came running to the school, concerned for their kids.

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“I texted with my children and one said she felt sick later on, so I told her to go to the paramedic,“ said parent J.B. Perdomo as she dashed past a group of reporters.

So, what was it? What caused 27 people to become seriously ill at Cardinal Gibbons, some to the point of fainting?

“We don’t know. We’ve searched back and forth. We’ve done three different samplings. We’ve used our monitors and have come up with nothing,“ said Collan.

One thing all of the victims had in common is they were all in the gym shortly before they got sick. Fire Rescue can only speculate that something might have been released into the air, and quickly dissipated after all the doors had been opened.

All the patients were reported to be stable and improving Monday afternoon.

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The school is located at 2900 NW 47th Street.