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Readings taken by the Blacksburg Fire Department before noon showed carbon-monoxide levels of 500 parts per million in the apartment shared by the five women, Capt. Bradbery said. People experience symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning at levels as low as 25 parts per million, he said.

Residents were being housed in a hotel overnight.

The leak came the same day Virginia Tech dedicated a memorial to 32 persons killed by a student gunman in April. Fall semester classes begin today.

University spokesman Larry Hincker said he and Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger went to Montgomery Regional Hospital immediately after the ceremony to visit with the injured students. He said they appeared to be in good spirits.

“This is terrible. This is awful,” said Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski. “We simply hope and pray that all students injured will recover.”

Capt. Bradbery also was at the dedication ceremony when he got the call about the injuries.

“Enough’s enough,” he said. “We’ve got four kids here who are just clinging to life.”