Pool chlorine leak the result of human error
A harmful chemical spillage that resulted in 200 people being evacuated from Ashford’s Stour Centre was caused by human error.
Six people – four employees and two members of the public – needed hospital treatment after the leak on Wednesday August 19 at the centre in Tannery Lane.
They were taken to the William Harvey with watery eyes and itchy throats but were all released that day.
Others were checked over by paramedics at the scene, and the centre was cordoned off for several hours while fire crews dealt with the spillage.
In total, 200 members of staff and customers had to be evacuated from the building, with some waiting in the nearby council offices.
Now, after an internal investigation by the Ashford Leisure Trust, which runs the Stour Centre, the cause of the chlorine leak, which started in the spa plant room, has been identified.
A spokesman said: “A full internal investigation has been completed, and we can confirm the incident was not caused by a technical or mechanical failure but due to human error.
“Robust measures have been put in place to ensure this cannot occur again.”
Last week, great-grandmother Mrs Janice Harris, 68, who was in the swimming pool with her friend Margaret Carter at the time of the leak, praised staff for the way they handled the evacuation.
She said: “When the alarm went off, the lifeguards were so good.
“They took us on to the green for a while, then we waited in the conference room in the Civic Centre until we were allowed back in.
“I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so I have breathing difficulties, and it was just fantastic how they treated us so well.
“They gave us blankets, drinks and sandwiches, and their treatment was so professional.”
Emma Wood, chief executive of Ashford Leisure Trust, said: “I would like to thank the emergency services for their prompt attendance and Ashford Borough Council for their support in providing temporary accommodation for members of public.
“I would also like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding, and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
Ashford Leisure Trust chief executive Emma Wood and emergency services vehicles outside the centre following the chlorine scare