Spilled chemicals mixed with water caused the chlorine gas odor that prompted The Edge Sports & Fitness club staff to evacuate the gym Monday morning, chief Charles Cole said. No one was treated as a result of the incident, according to the chief.
The Essex gym will remain closed for cleanup Monday evening and likely reopen on Tuesday, Cole said.
Essex Fire received a call from an Edge staff member around 9:24 a.m. and responded shortly after. They were joined by Essex Rescue, Essex Jct. Fire and the Vermont State Hazardous Materials Response Team. The incident was treated as a possible chlorine leak from a tank that services the gym’s pool, Cole said.
The gym’s manager told responders that occupants smelled fumes in the space and were “a little overcome,” according to Cole. An employee who was working in the basement facilities room reported watery eyes and felt unsafe in the downstairs space, the chief said.
Fire crews donned breathing apparatuses, entered the building and found liquid on the floor, prompting them to call the state hazmat team per standard protocol, Cole said.
The hazmat crew sent in its strike team, which, as of 1:30 p.m., had ascertained the chlorine tank was not causing the smell, and there were no active chemicals leaking, Cole said.
“We don’t want to see a chlorine leak because that makes the problem harder to deal with,” he said. “It’s good that it is smaller.”
Essex Fire deployed a decontamination team and two rapid intervention teams to rescue the first responders inside the building should they need help.
“Everybody at The Edge here did what they were supposed to,” he continued. “They called us, they got out.”
Responders left the scene around 3:30 p.m. according to Cole. The Edge had its maintenance staff on site as well as an environmental cleanup crew to address the spill and determine the source of the water, which is believed to be a either a leak or groundwater, the chief said.