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6 hospitalized after chemical problem in Hales Corners

Sept. 8, 2011

Six people, including three firefighters, were taken to the hospital Thursday after a pool pump malfunctioned at Gold's Gym in Hales Corners.

The Hales Corners Fire Department received a call shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday about a possible chemical spill or leak at the gym, 5321 S. 108th St. Investigation showed a pool pump had malfunctioned and stopped operating. Once it started to back up, it sent out more than its normal dose of chlorine and acid, and people who breathed the cocktail suffered respiratory symptoms, Fire Chief Mike Jankowski said.

"When you mix these together, you get an irritant in the air," he said. "They had difficulty breathing, sore throat, respiratory distress."

The gym was evacuated, and firefighters ventilated the room and monitored air quality.

All firefighters had been released from the hospital by Thursday afternoon. The other patients were to be released later Thursday, Jankowski said.

The pool has been closed until the pump can be serviced and inspectors from the fire department can check to make sure everything is operating properly, he said.

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