By Reg Chapman

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — Eleven people were sent to the hospital as a precaution after they were exposed to chlorine at a local swimming school.

It happened around 3 p.m. Sunday at the Foss Swim School located inside Knollwood Mall in St. Louis Park.

More than 40 children and adults complained of breathing problems as a result of chlorine exposure and were treated at the scene.

It depends on who you ask, what answer you’ll get, to know what happened in the pool at the Foss Swim School.

Three people connected to the incident tell three different stories.

St. Louis Park’s Fire Chief said his crews arrived to find people having problems breathing.

“When we arrived we found about 40 to 50 people that were complaining about, they were coughing, complaining about respiratory problems and very symptomatic to some type of chlorine problem,” said St. Louis Park Fire Chief Luke Stemmer.

Stemmer said upon further investigation he uncovered the problem that caused the smell that sent 11 people to the hospital.

“There had been a malfunction in the chlorine system that the equipment that puts chlorine into the pool and they got too much chlorine into the pool and the people that were in the pool at the time were affected by it,” said Stemmer.

“So the fire department came and there was no chlorine. There was no chlorine spill, there was no acid spill, nothing like that but what it was just this warm fog coming over it,” said Foss Swim School owner Jon Foss.

He said there was no malfunction of equipment, just a spill of about a cup of bleach on the floor during regular maintenance on the pool.

“We clean this line, about a couple of cups, maybe eight to 10 ounces of bleach just spilled right here,” showed Foss.

Foss said a parent opened an emergency door that sent zero-degree air from the outside clashing with 85 degree humid air on the inside. He said that water vapor cloud caused the coughing.

WCCO’s Reg Chapman spoke to the parent in question who opened the door. They tell a different story.

The parent said the smell of chlorine chocked several people outside the pool area and the vapor over the pool was noticeable before the door was forced open.

That parent said they will speak to Foss about his comments blaming them for the incident when they feel they were only reacting to what they smelled and what they say.

Foss said swimming lessons will resume Monday morning.

WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman Reports

Comments (14)
  1. Rachel says:

    Children were being pulled out of the pool (coughing and in distress) by their teachers, and a cloud had formed above the pool before any door was opened by parents. The sickest of children were those that had been swimming in the pool at the time. The fire exit door had to be kicked open as it was blocked by snow

  2. meryem says:

    I can attest to that as well. Even instructors had issues with breathing and you could smell the gas even out in the mall. They are playing it down. One of the Paramedics urged us to have the kids seen at a clinic even though they were not showing signs of the symptoms some of the other kids were like coughing, wheezing, burning sensation, and vomiting. The school officials are playing it way down…

  3. darell says:

    this is something I would not put on the news
    now some idiot will to this on purpose

  4. Maintenance guy says:

    Pools are serious business. I have worked on pools my whole life. During CPO training, we learned of a CPO that dumped large amounts of chemical into a pool and did kill a kid. When chlorine mixes with Acid it makes mustard gas and it forms a cloud on the surface of the pool as reported here and makes a person wheeze, cough, and vomit. I am sure the pool inspector will find out the exact reason, but if it was me or my kids i would have a full lung capacity test done to make sure there is no damage. This could be more serious than it is being reported as.

  5. Victim Du Jour says:

    Every Swimming Pool has a build up of chlorine vapor in the air. When you open the door and let freezing cold air into a pool area. A Cubic foot of 85 degree Air with vapor in it will condense. So basically a large mass of air hit cold air and it became toxic. A high pressure Steam Boiler does not like cold water for the same reason — the boiler will implode.

    Some Moms just like being over worried about their kids, and someone has lawyer disease.

  6. Jon says:

    Victim Du Jour and darell

    Apparently the smell has gotten to you as well. Open your windows and doors until fresh air arrives. Really, grow up…… there were kids throwing up and burning from vapors. The hazmat, fire trucks, a dozen squads, 10 people sent to the hospital. Neighboring stores were closed. Unbelievable comments.

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      People who brag about their children being in Constant danger should stay home and let the rest of the world enjoy swimming pools and playgrounds.

  7. rita says:

    why are they doing work when there are people there it all should be done after hours not when children are there (STUPID)

  8. Nancy Aleshire says:

    Bleach contains chlorine (Clorox). That’s why they tell you not to mix it with other household cleaners.

  9. The Mans says:

    The smell of chlorine is NORMAL in a pool, and with the very low temps and high humitidy in the pool it causes a cloud or mist over the pool.. Some over paranoid IDIOT of a parent kick open a door causing the caios …SMDH

  10. The Mans says:


  11. us says:

    WOW !! calm down people!

  12. really! says:

    once again, leave it up to the media to blow things way out of proportion, and put so much negativity into this. what a dumb thing to do. opening a door and letting the cold air in. it was caios caused by parents. even the fire marshall said that everything was ok.

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