Yesterday afternoon (February 23rd) around 1:50 pm the Cortland City Fire Department responded to the Hampton Inn on River Street for a reported hazardous condition.
According to an update from the city fire department pool chemicals were mixed and created a toxic chlorine gas in the hotel, and not cleaning supplies.
All employees and guests were evacuated. TLC Ambulance as a precaution, arrived to check on anyone not feeling well. One city fire fighter was evaluated at the hospital and was treated then released.
The city Hazmat unit respond as well. They continuously checked the buildings air quality.
The Cortland County Health Department, DEC, New York State Fire investigators also responded to the scene.
The Homer Fire Department covered the city while firefighters were on scene for several hours.
Correction: Cortlandville Fire Department also stood on standby for the city.
Press Release Below:
“At 1:54 p.m. the Cortland Fire Department responded to the Hampton Inn hotel, 26 River Street in Cortland, for a chemical release. First arriving units were notified by hotel staff that the building was being evacuated and that there had been an accidental mixing of muriatic acid and sodium hypochlorite solutions in the pool maintenance area. These chemicals, common in commercial pool maintenance, when combined create toxic chlorine gas. The fire alarm was sounded and firefighters in protective gear and respirators systematically evacuated hotel guests from approximately 30 rooms; evacuating nearly 50 guests and several staff members to safety.
Building ventilation was established due to toxic levels of chlorine found on monitoring the air quality in the pool maintenance and other areas of the hotel. The chemicals were isolated, contained and removed from the building by specially trained members of the Cortland Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team. Once removed, the levels of chlorine gas continue to drop and the building was deemed safe to reoccupy by 8:30 p.m. two civilians were evaluated by TLC EMS, Inc. on scene and released. One firefighter evaluated at the hospital was treated and released.
Cortlandville and Homer Fire Departments provided mutual aid while Cortland crews were managing the incident. Technical assistance was received from NYS Office of Emergency Management, and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Specialized meters were provided by NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control. Additional assistance was provided by Cortland County Health Department and TNR Environmental Services.
These chemicals or similar are common for pool maintenance in commercial and some residential settings. The Cortland Fire Department would like to remind everyone to assure chemicals are separated by distances recommended by the manufacturers, kept in clearly labeled original containers and that anyone handling these chemicals takes the time to learn the risks associated plus any emergency or first aid procedures necessary when handling them.”