hazmat

Chemical Incident at YMCA in Westchester County Sends 13 to Hospitals: Officials

A report of the accident at the YMCA on Weyman Avenue in New Rochelle came in around 7:15 a.m. Monday

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More than a dozen people were taken to hospitals with respiratory symptoms and "skin exposure injuries" Monday after being exposed to a "vapor cloud" caused by a hazardous mixture of chemicals at a Westchester County YMCA, officials say.

A report of the incident, which officials say appears to be "accidental and not criminal in nature," at the YMCA on New Rochelle's Weyman Avenue came in around 7:15 a.m. Thirteen people in total were taken to hospitals, though details on the severity of their injuries weren't immediately clear. Their ages weren't known.

Fire officials say hydrochloric acid and chlorine "inadvertently" got mixed in the same container and caused a chemical reaction, creating a toxic vapor cloud that sickened gym patrons and employees with its fumes. First responders in hazmat suits had to help a number of people get out of the building.

The scene was said to be contained by mid-morning.

Emergency crews had to be washed and scrubbed in a makeshift decontamination center in the street as gym members were disappointed to learn their classes were canceled. But they said they were happy no one was seriously hurt.

The investigation is ongoing.

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