UPDATED at 3:25 p.m.
Quick thinking by staffers at the YMCA Camp Letts in Edgewater to decontaminate children exposed to chemical fumes by ushering them into showers likely minimized the affect of the mishap, authorities said Wednesday afternoon.
A total of 35 people – 31 children between the ages of 6 and 16 and four adults – were taken to area hospitals following an exposure to chemical fumes at the camp’s pool, according to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
Anne Arundel County Fire public information officer Russ Davies first tweeted about 10 a.m.: “Units operating on a possible HazMat incident in the 4000 block of Camp Letts Road in Edgewater.”
He said: “Edgewater HazMat evaluating 13 moderate and 13 minor patients.”
The 911 call reported a possible chemical incident at the pool on the property located in the 4000 block of Camp Letts Road. The initial caller said about 25 children were experiencing symptoms including nausea and vomiting.
The fire department’s Hazardous Materials Team responded to the scene and worked with the camp staff to isolate the problem. A mechanical malfunction likely caused an excessive amount of either sodium hypochlorite or muriatic acid to enter into the pool, authorities said.
The problem was recognized by camp staff, who quickly evacuated children from the pool and moved them rapidly to showers at the facility, where they were decontaminated. The quick thinking of the staff is believed to have minimized the impact of the exposure, fire department officials said.
WNAV spoke with Anne Arundel County Fire Department Capt. Michael J. Pfaltzgraff, who said responders were called to the camp on a report that multiple children were suffering from nausea and vomiting.
He said 13 children had serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, while another 13 had minor injuries.
A total of 35 patients were taken to area hospitals: seven to Anne Arundel Medical Center, 18 to Baltimore Washington Medical Center, two to Queen Anne Emergency Center and eight to Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
Mutual aid assistance was received from the Annapolis Fire Department and Howard County Department of Fire Rescue Services.