12 sent to hospital after chemical leak at St. Catharines pool
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 4:35PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2012 10:39PM EDT
A dozen people were taken to hospital after a chemical spill at a public pool in St. Catharines around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
According to city officials, two chemicals were accidentally mixed at the Lion Dunc Schooley Pool, creating noxious fumes that sickened an unknown number of people.
“The delivery driver, apparently, put the wrong chemical in one of the tanks,” said St. Catharines Fire Department Chief Mark Mehlenbacher.
Both parents and children at the outdoor community pool were coughing and found it difficult to breathe.
According to officials, a routine delivery went wrong when liquid chlorine was added to a type of acid, generating a noxious gas similar to the type that was used as a chemical weapon during WWI.
Paramedics and the fire department’s hazmat team were dispatched to the scene and the pool was evacuated.
Residents in the area were also advised to close their doors and windows and remain inside.
At least 12 people were decontaminated before they were taken to hospital, so they would not contaminate other patients or staff.
Two of those people were listed as being in more serious condition.
Those taken to hospital included four children, two adults, five teenaged lifeguards and the contractor who delivered the chemical to the pool.
People exposed to chlorine gas have to be monitored for 24 hours because it can cause fluid to build up in the lungs.
City officials said they don’t think the incident was intentional, just a bad mistake.
The pool remained closed for clean up Thursday evening and Mehlenbacher said it would remain closed Friday as the Ministry of Labour and police investigate exactly what happened.
He said he hopes the pool will re-open by the weekend when temperatures are expected to exceed 30 degrees Celcius.