More than a dozen children were taken to the hospital this afternoon after inhaling chemical fumes at a Gulfport water slide.
It happened at "Wet Willy's" water park around two o'clock. An accidental mixing of pool chemicals created a cloud of smoke that caused breathing problems and watery eyes.
A brisk wind along the beach was a factor in both causing the accident and breaking up the chemical cloud. Emergency crews from a Gulfport fire station less than two blocks away were first on the scene after a Wet Willy's employee called 911.
A worker was adding chlorine to the pool when the wind blew some of the chemical into a nearby bucket of muratic acid. That mixture produced a visible cloud of chemical smoke.
Water slide manager, Ricky Dombrowski, says it was a momentary situation that was kind of scary. He says they had several customers that did inhale some of the fumes.
Two adults and 13 children were taken to three area hospitals. Gulfport Fire Department's Pat Sullivan says the injuries were basically minor. He says they were respiratory problems and that those people affected complained of some dizziness and some breathing difficulties.
Afternoon weather conditions played a part in the accident and aftermath. The brisk wind that blew the chlorine into the acid also helped break up the resulting cloud rather quickly
Pat Sullivan says it was a fast moving wind and that the cloud kind of formed and then broke up. Those people who were in the immediate area were the ones involved in it.
The water slide reopened just a half hour after the accident. Water slide manager, Ricky Dombrowski, says this was first time in 22 years that they've ever had this happen.
Again, no one was seriously hurt in the accident. Nine of the injured customers were taken to Gulfport Memorial Hospital, three went to Gulf Coast Medical Center and three to Biloxi Regional.
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