FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno Pacific University officials say a chlorine spill affected 15 swimmers during practice. Fresno Fire's Hazmat team determined a chlorinator malfunction caused the accident. The pool is shut down until further notice.
Fresno Pacific's Athletic Director says this is the first known incident of a chlorine spill in the pool. Crews are working to make sure this doesn't happen again.
A tarp covered the entire pool at Fresno Pacific after a malfunction caused chlorine to accidentally spill into the water Tuesday afternoon.
"Like I've used the facilities, the pool specifically, the track and fitness center anywhere and it's always been well taken care of," said Connor Nolan, a track and field athlete at FPU.
Medics evaluated 15 FPU swimmers who were practicing in the pool right before the chlorine release.
"12 were transported and three denied, pretty much refused transport to the local hospital," said Hector Vasquez with the Fresno Fire Department.
One swimmer sustained minor chemical burns on their arms and legs. Others complained about inhalation issues. School officials say the emergency response team tended to everyone on the pool deck after the accident.
"Number one is that they're safe. Number two is just making sure that the next steps forward is that everyone was accounted for and taken care of," said FPU Athletic Director Aaron Henderson.
The spill caused two nearby classrooms to evacuate for precautionary reasons. Student athletes say an email from Fresno Pacific alerted them right away.
"The time being here, everything seems to be pretty safe, pretty mellow around here. If there's a problem, it's usually handled pretty easily," said Norman Napolitano, an FPU track and field athlete.
Athletes say a serious incident like this could make their swim team even stronger.
"Honestly, I think something like this will really bring them closer and I wouldn't wish it on any other team," said David Chavez.
Fresno Pacific's next swim competition is at the Sunnyside Aquatics Center on Saturday. It's unknown where the Sunbirds will practice for the rest of the week.