Mixture of pool chemicals leads to dangerous situation at Lancaster County home

Firefighters said a reaction involving pool chemicals caused a dangerous situation this weekend at a Lancaster County home.In 41 years of firefighting, Tim Kuntz said he has never seen anything like the chemical gas he encountered at Sunday’s emergency call on New Danville Pike.”It kind of looked like a Hollywood movie because steps, steps, disappeared into nothing,” said Kuntz, who is with the New Danville Fire Company.The basement of Carmen Diaz’s home was full of what looked like smoke but smelled like pool chemicals.”It’s It’s just like they used in World War I, and so this was bad stuff,” Kuntz said. The fire company called in the county hazmat team to help, and department photographer Don Shenk caught it all on camera.”They looked like astronauts,” Diaz said.The family had taken its pool down because of a leak three weeks earlier.Leftover chlorine tabs, algaecide and pool cleaner mixed in a bucket and caused the reaction.”They were, ‘Oh, did you know if it’s m ixed with a chemical it can combust?’ I was like, ‘I didn’t know that.’ I got a lesson yesterday because I never knew things like that,” Diaz said. A simple solution is to keep cleaners separate and outside, not in a place like a basement.”Because once they mix together, it’s not pretty,” Diaz said .What’s left is still smoldering in a metal drum. It’s a reminder for Diaz and others to be careful with chemicals.

Firefighters said a reaction involving pool chemicals caused a dangerous situation this weekend at a Lancaster County home.

In 41 years of firefighting, Tim Kuntz said he has never seen anything like the chemical gas he encountered at Sunday’s emergency call on New Danville Pike.

“It kind of looked like a Hollywood movie because steps, steps, disappeared into nothing,” said Kuntz, who is with the New Danville Fire Company.

The basement of Carmen Diaz’s home was full of what looked like smoke but smelled like pool chemicals.

“It’s poison chlorine gas. It’s just like they used in World War I, and so this was bad stuff,” Kuntz said.

The fire company called in the county hazmat team to help, and department photographer Don Shenk caught it all on camera.

“They looked like astronauts,” Diaz said.

The family had taken its pool down because of a leak three weeks earlier.

Leftover chlorine tabs, algaecide and pool cleaner mixed in a bucket and caused the reaction.

“They were, ‘Oh, did you know if it’s mixed with a chemical it can combust?’ I was like, ‘I didn’t know that.’ I got a lesson yesterday because I never knew things like that,” Diaz said.

A simple solution is to keep cleaners separate and outside, not in a place like a basement.

“Because once they mix together, it’s not pretty,” Diaz said.

What’s left is still smoldering in a metal drum. It’s a reminder for Diaz and others to be careful with chemicals.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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