14 people treated following hazmat incident at pool

According to the Chicago Tribune:

More than a dozen people – including emergency responders – had to receive medical treatment Thursday after preparations to open the pool at a Lincolnshire condominium complex turned into a hazmat incident.

“We’re not sure if (pool staff) were mixing chemicals,” said Lincolnshire-Riverwoods fire Chief Tom Krueger said. “They were doing work on the mechanical system trying to get the pool ready for the season. If they were messing with the heating element or furnace, it could release carbon monoxide. Any kind of break in that could get high levels of CO. Before you know it, it will hit you.”

Fourteen people, including four firefighters and four police officers, have been released in good condition from local hospitals after firefighters discovered hazardous materials at a pool in the Village Green of Lincolnshire condominium complex, 445 Village Green.

Upon arriving on the scene about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Lincolnshire-Riverwoods firefighters found a male and female – both unconscious – at the pool in the residential complex, Lincolnshire police Cmdr. Kim Covelli said.

The initial 911 call indicated only the female was unconscious, but the male went unconscious by the time firefighters arrived, Krueger said.

Both victims are teenagers and were released from Lutheran General Hospital on Friday morning, Krueger said.

“We sent an engine and an ambulance,” he said. “We were assuming we were just treating one person, but we found two when we got there. We called a third alarm for ambulances. There were about 15-18 ambulances. We weren’t sure what was going on. There were people complaining about breathing.”

When hazardous materials firefighters entered the mechanical room next to the pool, they recognized an unsafe smell in the air, Krueger said.

“They entered the room and got hit with something,” he said. “They started feeling dizzy. There was a chlorine smell. While they were treating the victims, they got a little overcome. They got out of the environment. The two teenagers were immediately rushed to the hospital.”

Firefighter-paramedics transported four residents, four firefighters and four police officers to several area hospitals, including Advocate Condell Medical Center in Lake Forest and Highland Park Hospital, for evaluation, Krueger said.

All 12 were treated and released Thursday, the fire chief said.

He explained that when nearby residents complained of feeling dizzy, firefighters evacuated the units closest to the mechanical room until the area could be deemed safe.

“We let them in after we monitored their rooms,” Krueger said. “It never got into the residential units. Once we shut off the mechanical stuff and opened the main doors and windows, it clears out pretty quickly.”

Officials said the pool, which is attached to the Village Green of Lincolnshire complex, was not yet open for swimming but was being prepared for that. The teens, officials said, were not part of that process.

Krueger declined to provide their names and said he did not know their exact ages.

Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the incident.

“We don’t know what the teenagers were doing in there,” the fire chief said. “We’re trying to figure out why the teenagers were in the pool area. They definitely weren’t swimming.”

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