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UPDATE: 35 Taken to Hospitals for Chlorine Exposure at Camp Letts

Authorities say 31 children and four adults are being treated at area hospitals for exposure to chlorine at Camp Letts in Edgewater.

Children are being treated for exposure to chlorine at Camp Letts in Edgewater. File|Patch
Children are being treated for exposure to chlorine at Camp Letts in Edgewater. File|Patch

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.

Debra Elise July 09, 2014 at 03:58 PM
Glad all of the kids are okay - Glory to God and Christ!!
Ginny Parsons Lee July 09, 2014 at 06:49 PM
My daughter currently at Camp Letts. They called me to make sure I knew she was OK and unaffected. Seems like all the kids have been treated and released. Hold the blame, the quick action of those lifeguards likely prevented more serious injuries.
Walter P Fitzwater Jr July 09, 2014 at 06:55 PM
My daughter also goes to Camp Letts and they told my wife she was not one of the affected kids when she actually was. My daughter was at Johns Hopkins for two hours before they called my wife to tell her she was there. The person at Camp letts told my wife that my daughter was released from the hospital and was on her way back to camp. that was not the case. My wife and I had to go to the hospital to get her. Quick thinking by the staff, however there is no excuse for the lack of communication.
Ginny Parsons Lee July 09, 2014 at 07:31 PM
wow! that's terrible...now I am worried all over again
Mary Vecellio July 12, 2014 at 06:48 AM
It seems to me that the Staff at Camp Letts acted very quickly to keep the children safe. The lack of communication was probably due to panic on the part of hospital personnel, etc. I can understand the frustration and anxiety of the parents but miscommunication does happen when there is an emergency and people panic, even though they have a calm exterior. I've always heard a lot of good things about Camp Letts and I know people who have sent their children there. This is an unfortunate situation, to be sure, but at least the children were taken care of and transported to areas where they could be quickly treated, if necessary. I'm sure Camp Letts will live up to its good reputation and fix what needs to be fixed so no one is in danger in the future.

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