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Habanero peppers found on school playground

Tuesday - 4/8/2014, 9:42pm  ET

In this Monday, April 7, 2014 photo, a West Metro firefighter leads a student to a bus during an evacuation after students were exposed to hazardous skin irritants at Jefferson County Open School, in Lakewood, Colo. Seven students at the suburban Denver school were hospitalized and about two dozen others and a teachers' aide were decontaminated on site after complaining of skin and eye irritation. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, AAron Ontiveroz) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET OUT; NO SALES; NEW YORK POST OUT; NEW YORK DAILY NEWS OUT

DENVER (AP) -- Environmental investigators say they found pieces of habanero peppers on a school playground after seven students were sent to the hospital complaining of skin and eye irritation.

Jefferson County schools spokeswoman Lynn Setzer said Tuesday school employees found pieces of about six habanero peppers scattered in the wood chips around play equipment at Jefferson County Open School, which has about 500 students in grades K-12.

Setzer said it isn't known at this time how or when the peppers got on the playground. The peppers are so hot people handling them wear gloves.

About two dozen students and a teachers' aide had to be decontaminated on Monday and the school was closed Tuesday so playground equipment and school surfaces could be wiped clean. The school is expected to reopen on Wednesday.

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