British Columbia

Chlorine leak at B.C. pool probed

Authorities are investigating an automated chlorination system after 70 people were taken to hospital after a chlorine incident at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in Williams Lake.

Swimmers report seeing orange liquid in pool before it was evacuated

Chlorine incident probed

10 years ago
A child remains in hospital after an incident at a swimming pool in Williams Lake, B.C. 1:53

Authorities are investigating what caused a chlorine leak at a municipal swimming pool in Williams Lake, B.C., that sent dozens of children and adults to hospital on Sunday.

The Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex was evacuated at about 8:20 a.m. PT, sending 70 people, including 45 children, to hospital.

Swimmers await medical attention after the pool at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in Williams Lake was evacuated Sunday morning because of a chlorine incident. (Greg Fry)

Most people were released and told to get checked by a doctor again in 12 hours, but two people were admitted to hospital overnight. Health officials confirmed Monday morning one adult had been released but a child remained in hospital under observation.

City spokesperson Ken MacInnis said city staff, union representatives and a third-party health and safety investigator began their work Sunday afternoon and will focus on the pool's automated chlorination system.

"The chlorine is added to the water of the pool electronically, it's not done manually. My understanding is that they will be looking at that system with the chlorine to determine what happened."

Most swimmers treated, released

Competitive swimmers from Williams Lake, Prince George and Quesnel were at the complex for a swim meet and were in the pool warming up at the time of the leak.

Among them was 10-year-old Jenna Soles. Her mother, Tanya, says the children were in the water when they noticed something wasn't right.

"She said that they were swimming and all of a sudden they started to smell something unfamiliar. So they stood up, took their goggles off and there was orange liquid, it looked like, going into the pool," said Soles.

Soles said her daughter was taken to hospital where she received treatment and was released after a three-hour stay. 

"Her lungs, she's coughing quite a bit but they said that's to be expected. And she's got a headache. I don't know if that's just from all the coughing and the letdown of the adrenaline, but I'm just going to let her sleep today [Monday]," said Soles.

The pool and fitness centre at the Williams Lake complex remained closed Monday while authorities continue their investigation.

The city says it doesn't yet know when the facility will fully reopen.