Three Dozen Sickened by YMCA camp pool chemicals


MAYO, MD. — Thirty-five people have been transported to area hospitals following an exposure to chemical fumes at the pool at the YMCA Camp Letts in Edgewater. Just before 10:00 a.m. Anne Arundel County Fire Communications received a 911 call advising of a possible chemical incident at the pool on the property of Camp Letts, located in the 4000 block of Camp Letts Road in Edgewater. The initial caller stated that approximately 25 children were experiencing symptoms including nausea and vomiting.

The Anne Arundel County Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team responded to the scene and in working with the staff at Camp Letts isolated the problem to an apparent mechanical malfunction which caused an excessive amount of either Sodium Hypochlorite or Muriatic Acid to enter into the pool. 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 of the product. The quick thinking of the staff is believed to have minimized the impact of the exposure.

A total of thirty-five (35) patients were transported to Anne Arundel Medical Center (seven), Baltimore Washington Medical Center (18), Queen Anne Emergency Center (two) and John Hopkins University Hospital (eight). Of the thirty-five patients, four of them were adults and the rest were children between the ages of 6 and 16. Some were transported with serious symptoms but none were believed to be life threatening. The original triage of the patients had indicated that there were an equal number of moderate and minor patients. Triage provides a rapid assessment of patients and upon further evaluation the number of moderate patients was decreased.

Mutual aid assistance was received from the Annapolis Fire Department and Howard County Department of Fire Rescue Services.

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