Nine kids hospitalized by pool chemicals at Spring swim club

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

SPRING, Texas - A Spring swim club remains closed Wednesday evening, after nine swimmers went to the hospital for breathing in too much chlorine.

It happened Tuesday evening at FINS located in the 7800 block of Spring-Cypress Road.

Kelly Ebelt's 4-year-old daughter was swimming in the pool when it happened.

"I looked up and one of the parents said 'Oh goodness I think someone had an accident or someone is throwing up,'" Ebelt said.

Before she knew it, kids and instructors were scrambling out of the deep end.

"I just saw some of the instructors were heavily trying to catch their breath, they were coughing and around their eyes there was a lot of redness," Ebelt said.

She immediately thought of her daughter, who was swimming at the other end of the pool.

"At that point I just made sure I knew where my daughter was since people were getting out of the pool," Ebelt said.

Swim students started gathering outside and by then Ebelt says you could smell the strong scent of chlorine taking over the building.

"When you usually walk into FINS you can't smell the chlorine, but you could smell it in the parking lot," Ebelt said.

By Wednesday afternoon that scent of chlorine had disappeared from the parking lot, but the county inspector who spent the day looking over the pool, still didn't know exactly what went wrong. 

"He said he had not seen anything like this before and what he wants us to do is to remain closed until he sees an inspection report," FINS Owner Bill Goudeket said.

Goudeket says they won't re-open the pool until it is 100 percent safe to swim in. He hopes the report will come in on Thursday morning and depending on what it says, the entire facility could re open by Thursday afternoon. 

Goudeket said customers who had swim lessons scheduled for Wednesday when the facility was closed will be given full refunds.

Meanwhile, Ebelt is just grateful her daughter made it out safe. 

"The staff did a great job pulling everyone out of the pool and getting everyone out of the building," Ebelt said. "No one panicked."

Goudeket says so far he has heard from seven of the nine swimmers who were hospitalized. They will all be okay.  He is waiting to hear back from the other two swimmers.

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