Thousand Oaks swim school illnesses: Several Hospitalized.
An equipment malfunction at a private pool in the Thousand Oaks swimming school in California on Wednesday led to chlorine exposure of nearly 20 swimmers.
According to the Ventura County Fire Department, 12 out of at least 19 swimmers affected by the chemical exposure were transported to Los Robles Regional Medical Center and Simi Valley Hospital, after nine ambulances were called to the scene. The ages of those hospitalized were not immediately confirmed, CW-affiliated KTLA reported.
While officials had initially said eight of those affected were in critical condition, Ventura County Fire Captain Stan Ziegler later clarified that no one was critically injured, only some were more seriously hurt, needing “immediate” medical care, as opposed to others who were being treated for minor symptoms.
Ziegler added it was difficult to confirm exactly how many people were affected by the chlorine exposure. “These numbers are fluctuating — they’re changing,” Ziegler said. “We’re still trying to get a handle on exactly how many patients were affected.”
The fire department received calls about people in the private swim club, located along East Wilbur Road, Ventura County, California, being “overcome by fumes from the pool chemicals.” Four fire engines responded to the scene.
By 6:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. EDT), multiple swimmers were facing difficulties in breathing — which was one of the many symptoms associated with chlorine poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “when chlorine gas comes into contact with moist tissues such as the eyes, throat, and lungs, an acid is produced that can damage these tissues.”
Other symptoms include blurred vision, burning pain, redness, blisters on the skin, frostbite-like skin injuries, burning sensation in the nose, throat, and eyes, coughing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), nausea, vomiting, watery eyes and wheezing.
The incident was a result of a pool equipment malfunctioning, due to which it started to pump excessive amounts of chlorine in the waters.
Fire officials said regardless of the number of people requiring medical attention after being exposed to chemical fumes, first responders were tending to everyone present at the facility when the incident happened. Ziegler said officials were expected to remain at the scene for several more hours to confirm that the situation was under control.
A video on the ground showed several people walking out of the enclosure and laying out on stretchers, holding clear masks on their faces, which appeared to be connected to oxygen tanks. People who were examined and determined that they were not affected were released.