More than 15 kids hospitalized for chlorine exposure at park

More than 15 kids hospitalized for chlorine bleach exposure at World's Fair Park

The fountains were reopened around 3 p.m. (Source: KPD) The fountains were reopened around 3 p.m. (Source: KPD)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Multiple children received minor injuries Thursday after getting chemicals in their eyes and noses at the fountains in World's Fair Park.

The children, who range in age from nine to twelve, were visiting as part of a trip with Blount County Schools.

After playing in the fountains, around 1 p.m. the children began complaining about eye and nasal irritation.

The chaperones took the children first to a nearby restroom to flush their eyes with tap water before opting to take them to nearby Children's Hospital where they were treated and released.

The fountains were closed while city officials investigated the cause of the incident.

A spokesperson for Knoxville's Public Building Authority, which oversees the fountains, said extra chlorine in the water was to blame.

The splash pads use chlorine bleach, which was the source of the extra chlorine.

After testing, a Knoxville Fire Department spokesman said the levels were found to be 7-8 PPM (parts per million). The safe range for chlorine in the fountains is 3-5 PPM. The typical chlorine concentration in drinking water is 2 PPM.

The PBA said the fountains were shut off due to Wednesday's storms and when they were restarted on Thursday morning, the sand filter did not operate properly.

They believe this may have led to the increase in chlorine.

The water in the fountains was again tested at 3 p.m. and chlorine levels were back to normal, so the fountains were reopened.

Officials said in the event of future storms, they plan to draw the fountains down low rather than shutting them off completely to avoid a similar situation.

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