Nine kids fall ill from chemical fumes at Spring swim club

Published On: Mar 11 2014 07:49:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 12 2014 06:22:46 AM CDT

March 11, 2014: Investigators say a malfunction of the automated chlorine system added too much chlorine to the water. Jennifer Bauer reports.

SPRING, Texas -

Nine children were taken to the hospital after swimming at the FINS swim club and getting sick.

"Eyes hurt, they were coughing, a few threw up," said Bill Goudeket, the owner of the facility, which is located in the 7800 block of Spring-Cypress Road in Spring.

It appears an equipment malfunction put too much chlorine in the pool, causing the kids to get sick. Swim classes were going on at the time for students ages 2-4. They were taken to the hospital, along with some of the instructors who are in their teens.

"Everybody got out of the pool quickly and they got out of the building quickly," said Chief David Bessolo with the Klein Fire Department. "That helped minimize the number of victims."

The owner told Local 2 in all his years of swimming he has never seen anything like this and he doesn't know what caused the equipment to malfunction.

"Some bubbles came out and a cloudy looking substance emerged from that," Goudeket said. "We have no idea what could have gone on, something shot out of one of the jets."

One theory he said they are looking at is whether a child stuck something in one of the jets, like a toy.

Hazmat crews and workers with the Harris County Health Department were on hand to test the water and check the chemical levels. The fire chief said the levels were reading normal after the incident.

The children who were taken to the hospital were treated with oxygen and had their eyes flushed. It was unclear if they had to stay overnight for observation, but Bessolo said their injuries were not considered life threatening.

"We're as sorry as we can be," Goudeket said. "We're in the business of saving lives, certainly not to hurt anybody. We want to make sure everyone is okay."

Goudeket told Local 2 the business will be closed on Wednesday and he won't reopen until he's certain that what happened Tuesday won't happen again. He is planning on hiring his own team of engineers to inspect the equipment to find out what went wrong.

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