Acid leak causes evacuation of Highlands Ranch Rec. Center
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Despite the high temperatures on Saturday, the pool at the Highlands Ranch Recreation Center was off limits following an acid spill.
Nobody was injured in the spill but the Littleton Fire Department called in its hazardous materials team after an employee noticed the strong smell of hydrochloric acid coming from a pump room near the pool.
“We just got dropped off and then they blew the whistle and said that everyone had to leave,” said Emily Snydstrup, who was planning on swimming with her stepsister, Marina Thornton, on Saturday afternoon.
“We overheard the lifeguard talking to someone on the phone and we heard them say we have to evacuate,” Thornton said.
The fire department responded to the call at about 1:30 p.m. and found the problem a short time later.
“The pump that takes that product out into the pool was compromised,” said Mark Stokes, Battalion Chief for the Littleton Fired Department. “We were able to shut the power off of that and stop the leaking.”
Though they stopped the leak quickly, the fire department closed the pool for the rest of the day in order to clean up the hydrochloric acid, which can be very dangerous.
“Particularly with your skin and as a vapor in your lungs,” Stokes said. “That’s why we cordoned off the area right away.”
“(I’m) pretty glad because something could have happened,” Thornton said.
The Littleton Fire Department closed the pool for the remainder of the day but the decision to reopen will depend on how fast a private company will be able to clean the area.