3 hospitalized after acid spill at Hazelwood East High School


by KMOV.com staff


Posted on July 10, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 10 at 5:55 PM

(KMOV) – Three people were hospitalized after an acid spill at Hazelwood East High School in north St. Louis County.

Several students told News 4 they smelled an overwhelming odor as soon as they walked inside the school in the 11300 block of Dunn Rd. Wednesday morning.

Firefighters responded to the scene and turned off the building’s air conditioning to prevent the odor from spreading.

Authorities evacuated all summer school students and a construction crew working inside the building at the time.

The students were moved to nearby Kirby Junior High School in the 1860 block of Dunn Rd.

Police said several victims were complaining of feeling ill after inhaling the chemical. Multiple police vehicles and three ambulances were called to the scene. Two students and a construction worker were transported to the hospital in unknown condition.

HazMat crews were called to the scene and determined the hose to a tank of muriatic acid came loose.

The container was in a pump and supply room next to the pool. Muriatic acid is used to to keep the pH level at the correct level if there's too much chlorine in the pool water.

Authorities said while only a small amount spilled out, the acid contains a powerful odor that can make those who inhale it sick.

Officials said they were airing out the building for about an hour before sending in crews to clean up the chemical.

Authorities said they expected the building to be safe to enter by Wednesday afternoon.