1. ITV Report

Leisure centre staff created 'gas cloud' as they tried to mix chlorine

Witham Leisure Centre in Essex. Credit: Google Street View.

Fire crews have left an Essex leisure centre after staff created a "gas cloud" by mixing the wrong chemicals.

The pool at the Spinks Lane centre remains closed but Braintree District Council confirmed the rest of the site had re-opened.

Mark Huggins, of Essex Fire and Rescue, said staff had been trying to make chlorine in the plant room but had combined the wrong chemicals.

"We were called to Witham Leisure Centre by staff, who were mixing chemicals to make chlorine, mistakenly mixed the wrong chemicals together, which created a small gas cloud.

"Our crews sectioned the incident into two parts. One section focused on ventilating the main reception area. The second section was based in the plant room where the mixing had taken place. We diluted the chemical by flushing the pipe with water and then ventilated the area."

– Mark Huggins, Essex Fire Service.

Eight people were treated by the ambulance service for breathing difficulties.

The leisure centre, which is run by the district council in partnership with charity Fusion, was handed back into the care of its manager at 1.30pm.

A council spokesman said an investigation into what happened had been launched.

"Fusion’s emergency plans were put in place promptly and customers were asked to leave the centre. A review has begun to establish what happened and why. The pool at the centre remains closed but all other facilities are now open.”

– Braintree District Council spokesman.