ATASCOCITA, Texas – A shelter-in-place has been lifted in the Timber Forest, Parks at Atascocita and surrounding area.
Authorities first reported a leak at a community pool was chlorine but later determined it was muriatic acid, which caused a hazardous chemical cloud above the pool.
Atascocita firefighters say they received an emergency call around 6:45 a.m. of a fire burning at the community pool.
When they arrived, they saw a cloud of smoke, but there was no fire. They quickly determined it was a chemical cloud, blocked off the neighborhood and ordered those nearby to shelter in place as the Harris County HAZMAT team came to the scene.
“At 7 a.m., I got a knock on my door, and it was the fire department telling me to shelter in place,” said one neighbor who lives close to the pool.
Firefighters also knocked on Alan Foster’s door. He says they told him to turn off his air-conditioning and he worried about his wife.
“Well, she is asthmatic, and she was little concerned about her asthma,” said Foster.
Authorities determined a line broke at the pool, releasing the muriatic acid into the air.
“(It) causes burning sensations in the eyes (and) nose if you breathe it in," said Atascocita Battalion Fire Chief Ron Fovargue. "It can burn your skin if it’s directly put on there."
First responders mitigated the situation, and the shelter-in-place order was lifted around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The community pool remains closed. Firefighters say workers will conduct a soil scrape throughout the area to determine how far the muriatic acid spread.