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Smithers hotel hazmat incident sends nine to hospital

Most of the people affected by a mistake with pool chemical were children.
Some who breathed in vapours were transported to Bulkley Valley District Hospital. (Michael Grace-Dacosta photo)

The BC Ambulance Service and Smithers Fire Department were called after several people, many of whom were children, got sick after swimming in the Aspen Inn’s pool.

“We’re truly concerned about the well being of our customers,” assistant general manager Eric Peter said. “Right now we’re looking into provisions to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.”

Peter thought an employee may have used too much chlorine while doing maintenance but wasn’t certain as the investigation into what happened is ongoing.

Smithers RCMP conducted an investigation and determined the incident was caused by an Aspen Inn employee adding chemicals to the pool as a part of its routine maintenance.

The chlorine’s vapor caused breathing issues for those affected, Peter said.

Nine people were taken to the Bulkley Valley District Hospital, Smithers RCMP said.

Everyone affected by the incident is expected to make a full recovery without any residual health issues.

“The Aspen is really thankful that emergency services was so fast in responding to the incident,” general manager Colin Bateman said on behalf of the ownership group. “Having kids myself, you can just feel for the parents that were involved.”