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Shay Dawson
Bradford Woods

Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010

Follow up information concerning Bradford Woods pool incident

July 16, 2010

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. -- Officials at Bradford Woods, the outdoor education facility of Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, have begun installing additional safeguards to prevent the mixing of muriatic acid and chlorine, chemicals commonly used to maintain swimming pools.

On Thursday, a member of the facility's maintenance staff mistakenly introduced muriatic acid into the pool's filtering system thinking it was chlorine. The combination did not get into the pool water, according to an investigation by IU authorities, but fumes created by the reaction escaped into the pool area and sickened campers and staff members.

Shay Dawson, director of the facility, said the camper who was taken to Riley Hospital for Children is doing well but remained at the hospital Friday morning for precautionary evaluation. The three Bradford Woods staff members who were taken to a hospital on Thursday were back to work on Friday.

Dawson said the incident is being investigated by the following IU offices: Emergency Management and Continuity; Environmental Health and Safety Management; and Risk Management. Staff from the first two offices were on the scene Thursday after the 3:30 p.m. incident and staff from all three met at the scene Friday morning. Graham McKeen from IU Environmental Health and Safety stated, "There was no spill. The mixture was contained but acidic. It currently is being neutralized. The tank is being cleaned, lines flushed, and the material disposed of properly. The pool will be back on-line in the next few days after a standard Department of Health State lab water test."

Dawson said the following safeguards, some of which already have been installed, will be put in place as a result of the investigation:

  • The maintenance staff will receive pool operator certification because on occasion, like on Thursday, they fill in for the pool maintenance staff
  • Muriatic acid and chlorine will be stored in separate, locked rooms
  • Labeling and signage will be improved on the chemical bottles and pool filtration equipment to indicate where the specific chemicals should be injected.

Dawson said the camp is continuing today and the pool will be reopened in the next few days.

On Thursday, 18 campers and 13 staff were at the pool swimming when the fumes escaped into the pool area. All campers and staff were removed from the area and evaluated by the physician and four nurses who are on staff 24 hours a day when Camp Riley is in session. Camp Riley is for youth 8-18 with physical disabilities. One camper was taken by ambulance to Riley Hospital for Children and three staff members were taken to Morgan County Hospital, where they were treated and released. All other campers and staff who were at the pool were evaluated by the facility's medical staff, EMS personnel and the fire department and they were all treated and cleared.

Dawson can be reached at or 765-342-2915.