Twenty people, including nine children, were taken to Sacramento-area hospitals Monday after a high concentration of chlorine was released into the wave pool at Raging Waters, a private water park at the state fairgrounds in Sacramento.
At least two of the victims had serious respiratory complaints or complaints of burning eyes, said Sacramento City Fire Department Assistant Chief Niko King.
“It started out with just a few people with complaints of burning respiratory tracts and eyes,” King said.
He and hospital officials did not immediately have conditions on the victims. Three of those taken to hospitals were park employees.
Lifeguards quickly moved visitors away from the wave pool after the 2 p.m. incident.
King said it appears a mechanic failure in the pool’s equipment caused the excessive chlorine release.
“The water dilutes it pretty well. But obviously, because it’s so strong, it turns to gas. That’s what they’re affected by,” he said.
Chlorine is used to sanitize pool water, but in high concentrations, particularly once it’s airborne, the gas can turn toxic.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, dispatched investigators from its amusement ride and tramway unit, agency spokeswoman Erika Monterroza said.
The Sacramento district office of Cal/OSHA will open a separate investigation Tuesday because water park workers were injured and exposed to a safety risk, she said. The second investigation is because the division also has jurisdiction over workplace safety and injuries.
(Associated Press writers Adam Weintraub and Juliet Williams contributed to this story.)
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