NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Gaskill Prep School in Niagara Falls was evacuated Monday due to what officials are describing as a "chlorine cloud" in the swimming pool area of the building.
A custodian apparently poured chlorine into the wrong place for the pool filter, causing a chlorine cloud to form in the basement of the school around 9:30 Monday morning. The smell of bleach was reportedly overwhelming.
Two maintenance workers who saw the cloud and called for help were taken by ambulance to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. So far, there is no word on their condition. A HAZ-MAT team for the Airbase said the levels of chlorine did not show any signs of combustibility.
"For the person in the room, it could potentially be very dangerous to their lungs. With where it was in the building, if you know these old buildings, it was way down deep in the basement, actually underneath the pool. So for it to get all the way up to where the students were it would have taken a long time. So they did the right thing and moved everyone out and for anyone who knows chlorine, it dissipates quickly as it moves away from the area," said Niagara Falls Fire Chief Thomas Colangelo.
All the students and staff were evacuated from the building to their pre-arranged evacuation sites within 20 minutes of the cloud's formation.
Chief Colangelo said, "They had a custodian in the basement area that houses the chemicals for the pool by accident, he poured muriatic acid into the liquid container holding chlorine that gets pumped into the pool through the filter and it caused a chlorine cloud to come up in that room and in the basement. He wasn't overcome, but it did affect him somewhat."
Gaskill closed for the remainder of the day. A spokesperson for Niagara Falls City Schools tells News 4, students were either taken home by bus or released to their guardians, once their guardians had been contacted.
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