PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Dozens of people were hospitalized Tuesday after a pump malfunctioned leading to an excessive amount of chlorine at a Pleasant Grove City pool.
Pleasant Grove Police Department responded to the Veterans Memorial Pool at 582 East 300 South just before 5 p.m. on what was initially reported as a chlorine overdose.
“When we responded, we quickly determined that it was a mass casualty critical incident—just meaning that we had multiple victims,” said Captain Britt Smith with Pleasant Grove Police Department.
Officers began patient care, and the pool was evacuated almost immediately, according to Smith.
About 26 patients were transported to the hospital with symptoms ranging from nosebleeds, coughing, nausea, and vomiting. At least 20 more “self-transported” to seek medical attention on their own. Ages of the patients range from small children to adults.
Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem said it treated 15 children and one adult from the incident. Hospital representatives said three patients were admitted to its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, eight are under observation, and five were discharged.
Through preliminary investigation, police said there was a failure with one the pumps at the pool. When the pump was turned back on, there was an “inordinate amount of chlorine” that was introduced into the water.
“When it hit the water, it quickly turned into a gaseous state, and it was contained to a specific isolated area within the pool so—the patrons that were at the pool in the immediate area were the ones who were affected,” said Smith.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, chlorine is used in swimming pool water to kill harmful bacteria, but in excessive quantities, it can be toxic.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened on the first nice day of summer break,” said Smith.
Multiple agencies in northern Utah County including Provo, Orem, American Fork, Lehi, and Saratoga Springs assisted with the incident.