Eight employees from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., were taken to a local hospital after falling ill due to exposure to chlorine fumes inside the Scandlon Physical Education Center.
Firefighters and paramedics responded to the center around 9:30 Thursday morning and were able to shut off primary and secondary valves inside a control room that regulates chemicals to the pool.
City Fire Chief Jay Delaney told the Times Leader that two employees were initially taken to the hospital, followed by six more an hour later.
John McAndrew, director of public relations at the center, said there was no chlorine leak but acknowledged that a “strong odor” affected those in the building.
“All the buildings have emergency preparedness plans and they have these plans for this type of incident,” Delaney said. “When something like this happens, it happens very rapidly. By the time the fire department arrived on scene, King’s did a fantastic job with evacuating the building.”
Due to the size of the building, it took about two hours to ventilate chlorine fumes with exhaust fans, Delaney said. The gymnasium and its annex will be closed until a professional contractor inspects the mechanics that regulate chemicals to the pool and makes any necessary repairs.