Two children who were playing in the Burgess baby pool in Menlo Park on Aug. 10 had reactions to a "gaseous substance" apparently due to a mechanical problem with the chlorination system at the pool, the city of Menlo Park reported today (Aug. 18) in a press release.
"Safety personnel responded immediately to care for the two children, who are recovering," according to the press release.
The baby pool was closed immediately and "will remain closed until the cause of the incident can be determined, all repairs are made, and all safety inspections are passed," the city said.
Mayor Rich Cline, who said he heard about the incident a day or two after it happened, said the children were treated at Stanford hospital for a day or two, but are now at home. He said he understands their condition is "better than it could be."
Asked about the city's delay in reporting the incident, he said. "I'm not sure I understand what the city was doing, maybe gathering more information." He noted the complication of having a third party in charge of the pool (Menlo Swim and Sport) and "having to work through (Tim) Sheeper (who heads Menlo Swim and Sport) to get details of what happened."
Asked why it took eight days to report the incident, Katrina Whiteaker, who is recreation services manager for the city, said, "We were still investigating the incident and trying to figure out exactly what happened."
With regard to the ages and condition of the children, she said the city is not giving out any more information about the family at this time.
Design and engineering experts are evaluating the problem at the pool, the city said in the press release.
Menlo Swim and Sport, which operates the pools, and city staff said they anticipate the baby pool will reopen sometime in September. The closure does not affect lessons and programs conducted by Menlo Swim and Sport in the performance and instructional pools.
City Manager Glen Rojas expressed concern for the children affected and their family, the press release said. "While the City does not believe there is an ongoing problem, we will keep the Baby pool closed until we can open it with certainty that participants will be safe," he was quoted as saying in the press release.
Tim Sheeper, executive director of Menlo Swim and Sport, was quoted as saying, "… we're doing everything we can to understand what went wrong and ensure measures are taken to prevent anything like this in the future."