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Indiana pool to be fined for violations after dozens sickened by fumes

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 7:46 am

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis city pool where dozens of people became sick from fumes after a chemical reaction this summer should be fined more than $14,000 for several safety violations, according to state inspectors.

An Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection report posted on the agency's website Thursday found the Garfield Park pool lacked safety devices to prevent mixing of chemicals that can form chlorine gas and didn't have proper safety equipment for workers. The report recommends a $14,250 fine.

The city parks department is working to remedy the violations and believes the fines will be waived when that is done, deputy parks director Jen Pittman said.

"In addition to addressing the orders at Garfield Park, Indy Parks and Recreation also plans to evaluate all of the city's aquatic centers and take corrective action as necessary before the facilities reopen next spring," Pittman said.

The June chemical reaction at the pool on the city's south side resulted in about 70 people, mostly children, going to hospitals for treatment of symptoms including nausea, breathing problems and watery eyes.

A city review found that a park employee didn't reopen a valve following a routine backwash of the pool. That set off a chain of events that allowed two pool chemicals to combine into chlorine gas and enter the pool.

The pool reopened several days later after city officials said repairs were made and its procedures for handling chemicals were updated.

The state safety report classified six violations at the pool as serious.

Inspectors found the pool's circulation system had inadequate flexible tubing that leaked and exposed employees to corrosive chemicals. The report also said the pool didn't have proper gloves and flushing equipment for workers and had some unsafe electrical outlets.