Chlorine Explosions Prompt Safety Concerns


CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - Firefighters said chlorine, while common, is a dangerous chemical, made evident by two chlorine explosions in the Charlotte area in just one week.

"If you put the wrong chemical in the wrong environment in the wrong place, a lot of things can happen and an explosion is entirely possible," said Battalion Chief Phil Bosche, with the Charlotte Fire Department.

On Monday, two employees at an east Charlotte pool were injured when chlorine exploded onto them. On Tuesday of last week, the 12-year-old daughter of a Channel 9 producer had to be airlifted to a hospital after being burned by a chlorine explosion.

"My right leg has most of the burns, and my arms," Sarah Ryder said.

Ryder was at her grandfather's house in Rockingham, mixing water into a bucket of chlorine for their pool when she said the mixture exploded loudly, narrowly missing her face.

"It went up like fireworks and came out," she said. "It was stinging and burning, and my skin was throbbing."

The potential for danger with chlorine is a big part of the reason why Mecklenburg County's public pools have an automated system that pumps chlorine.

"We want to eliminate staff or anyone from handling chemicals at all to minimize any chance of any injuries," said James Alsop with the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department said it's now planning to send out safety reminders to all pool operators in the county.

Ryder said she's well aware of the importance of that information.

"I'm not going to mess with strong chlorine and chemicals like that," she said.

For more information on pool chemical safety:

Pool Chemical Safety

Occupational Safety

Handling/Storing Chemicals