Fumes send pair to hospital

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 September, 1997, 12:00am

A lifeguard and another man were taken to hospital yesterday after the wrong chemical was used to disinfect a swimming pool in Wan Chai.

A government chemist said the pair could have suffered serious lung damage if they had inhaled toxic fumes from the chemical.

Last night, lifeguard Lo Lap-ting, 20, was in stable condition in Ruttonjee Hospital, while driver Wong Chi-hung, 43, was discharged against medical advice.

The incident was reported at about 10.30 am after Mr Lo was thought to have put hydrochloric acid instead of sodium hypochlorite, a bleaching solution, into a mixing tank in a pump room next to a car park at Victoria Heights in Stubbs Road.

The bleaching liquid is pumped into the pool to disinfect the water. The acidic solvent is for cleaning.

The pump room, next to the building's third-level car park, was filled with fumes within minutes and Mr Lo ran for help. Mr Wong, who was parking his car, said he felt unwell and both were sent to Tang Shiu Kin Hospital.

Firemen were called in and waited at the scene while government chemists began an investigation.

Senior chemist Dr Kam Tat-ting said toxic chlorine fumes formed when Mr Lo mixed in the wrong chemical.

'If the gas is very concentrated, anyone inhaling it a lot could have serious damage to the lungs or die,' he said.