Australia

‘Be really careful’: Public cautioned against hazardous chemical mixing in swimming pools after incident in Sydney swim facility

Ten people were hospitalised on Friday afternoon after exposure to a “toxic cloud” at a southwestern Sydney swimming facility.

Fire and Rescue New South Wales responded to a hazmat (hazardous materials) alert at the Swim2Me centre in Prestons about 4pm, following reports of several people feeling unwell.

Emergency crews confirmed 30 people were evacuated from the Hoxton Park Road facility, with six children and four adults transported to hospitals in the area for treatment.

Swimmers at the commercial pool reported experiencing shortness of breath after a strong scent, which was later determined to have been caused by two wrongly mixed pool chemicals.

“What has happened is a person there has inadvertently mixed two chemicals together and created a toxic cloud,” FRNSW Superintendent Adam Dewberry said.

“The chemicals that we understood that were mixed was a hydrochloric acid and a pool chlorine.”

Supt Dewberry said although the incidence was more common during the summer period, it was a repeated reminder to the public to take extra caution while using commercial swim facilities and also while preparing their own chemicals for pools in private properties.

“Our message to people is to please take care as we come into the warmer months and people might be a bit rusty after winter when getting their pool ready,” he said.

“We are asking people to be really careful whether you’re at work or in your home when you are working with pool chemicals.

“It’s easy to have this kind of reaction … and results causing significant health concerns.”

NSW Ambulance crews are understood to have treated at least 14 people at the scene on Friday, of which four refused to be taken to hospital.

The 10 others were admitted to medical facilities in Bankstown, Liverpool, and Campbelltown.

Hazmat firefighters ventilated the centre to clear toxic fumes in the air and the pool chemical mixture was diluted.

Swim2Me has now resumed regular operations.

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