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Samohi Pool Reopens After Gas Leak
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
By Jorge Casuso
August 27, 2019 -- The Santa Monica High School pool reopened Tuesday after a chlorine gas leak last week left members of the boys water polo team suffering from "acute respiratory distress," District officials said.
The leak last Thursday -- which occurred while restarting the boiler after a gas line break -- led to the evacuation of the pool building and the closure of the pool, officials said.
Players on the polo team "began coughing and experiencing acute respiratory distress during practice," said Carey Upton, the District's Chief Operations Officer.
Eleven students required medical attention, Upton said in a statement Tuesday. All were cleared that evening.
"The students had a range of respiratory symptoms, including burning sensation in the nose and throat, coughing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing," he said.
"The students are expected to recover from the respiratory impact of exposure to chlorine gas at this level in a few days."
After the incident, pool experts investigated and evaluated the Samohi pool systems, District officials said.
The District will install a new device on the pool system "that will prevent this from happening again," Upton said.
It also will change the operations and maintenance protocols "to not service the pool while people are present and alter process as an additional safety mechanism," he said.
In addition, District officials are reviewing emergency response protocols to ensure appropriate handling of gas leaks and chemical exposure, Upton said.
"We regret that this occurred and have been in touch with the families affected," he said. "The health and safety of our students and staff are our top priorities."
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