Families sue Flowood YMCA after exposure to ‘potentially deadly’ gas at birthday party

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:26 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Months after several children were sent to the hospital due to chlorine exposure at a birthday pool party, the venue that hosted the event is facing multiple lawsuits.

An attorney representing four families has filed complaints against the Metropolitan YMCA of Mississippi, after they say their children were injured after being exposed to a “potentially deadly” gas release at a Flowood YMCA pool party.

The incident happened in September. Approximately 25 children were in attendance, according to previous reports.

Court records claim that “with both children and adults occupying the pool, a sudden and rapid release of noxious gasses, acidic liquids and aerosolized acids was emitted from the waters... including the water in the arching water-jets,” creating “a dangerous, injurious and potentially deadly atmospheric environment surrounding the participants.”

Records indicate that the sounds of laughing and splashing were replaced with “rapid onset of respiratory distress... intense coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and mental status changes due to hypoxemia.”

“With the large number of victims, both pediatric and adult, experiencing respiratory distress, an environment of intense panic ensued... as parents rescued children from the pool and instituted resuscitative measures, all while trying to escape the noxious gasses being emitted.”

Claims further state that during the panic, no lifeguards or other Flowood personnel attempted to help.

And afterward... some children suffered “persistent and significant injuries to the respiratory tract” related to the exposure to chlorine and will “require long-term medical care.”

“These injuries and resultant physical impediments will negatively impact [their] ability to pursue the fullest extent and enjoyment of [their lives].”

The claims were filed in Rankin County Circuit Court. Four families filed suit. Five cases were filed on behalf of minor children.

The attorney also filed complaints on behalf of Kristy Case, the host of the party, and her husband Dustin.

“Kristy Case... was overcome with fear and anxiety as she witnessed her family members gasping for breath, as she desperately assisted in their removal from the offending agents.”

An attorney says as a result from the experience, Case “suffers from significant emotional distress, which manifests as anxiety, depression, guilt and insomnia” and has “required frequent evaluations and treatment from medical health professionals.”

Dustin Case is said to have suffered immediate respiratory issues due to exposure to chlorine gas, and later was diagnosed with chlorine inhalation lung injury.

The complainants say YMCA was negligent for failing to provide, among other things “a safe swimming environment consistent” with federal standards, as well as failing to provide resuscitative assistance through its staff and personnel.

An attorney for the families declined to comment, as did officials with YMCA.

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