71 people hospitalized after reported chemical reaction at Indiana pool

A possible chemical reaction at an Indianapolis pool sent 71 people to hospitals Thursday, authorities said.

Indianapolis Fire Department spokesman Lt. Derrick Sayles said buses were used to transport some of the victims to hospitals after the incident at Garfield Park on the city's south side. Symptoms experienced included nausea, coughing and eye irritation. Sayles said most people were in fair condition and would likely be released after treatment.

Sayles said the cause of the reaction was not clear. He said the operator of a pump that mixes a purifying chemical into the pool's water was among the injured, and investigators were unable to immediately speak to that person.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard went to the scene and said the city would investigate to determine what caused the incident.

Joe Stuteville, spokesman at Franciscan St. Francis Health, told the Indianapolis Star that some of the 25 patients -- mostly children-- already had been treated and released. He described the condition of those still under observation as less sick and more "curious" about all the doctors and medical staff members fussing over them.

Wishard Memorial Hospital spokesman Todd Harper said the four patients taken there, almost mainly children, were in fair condition.

Shari Patton, whose three children were at the pool, described the incident to the Star as "one big acid explosion of chlorine, pretty much."

Another mother, Jamie Rahmany, was in the baby pool with her son when lifeguards came through asking everyone to get out of the water. Rahmany noticed children coughing.

"I just wanted to get to my kids," she told the Star.

Patricia Tanner, another mother of three, was at the pool but not in the water. She told the Star she saw some children "throwing up."

"All we heard was we heard kids started coughing," Tanner said. "We had smelled a foul smell. It got stronger and stronger."