DHEC investigating chlorine gas incident at Ocean Boulevard hotel

akelley@thesunnews.comSeptember 23, 2013 

— The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is looking into a chlorine gas incident that sent a dozen people to the hospital.

Myrtle Beach firefighters responded about 8 p.m. Monday to the Landmark Resort Hotel on the 1700 block of South Ocean Boulevard for a chlorine leak, said Fire Marshal Bruce Arnel.

Firefighters learned an employee mixed sodium hypochloride – the chlorine compound used in swimming pools – with muriatic acid, Arnel said. The chemicals when combined emit chlorine gas. Arnel said 12 people were taken to the hospital for treatment.

“Our regulation requires a certified operator for each facility,” said DHEC spokesman Jim Beasley. “That operator is not required to be there full time, and the regulation does not require the certified operator to be the only one refilling chemicals.”

It was not clear Tuesday if the employee who mixed the chemicals was the operator, or if the employee was allowed to add chemicals.

“It is important to know that we at DHEC do not issue the certifications,” Beasley said. “We have a list of a few approved certifications that we will accept, so the level of instruction in handling of chemicals is specific to each certifying company.”

Beasley said DHEC is still investigating the matter and declined further comment.

Traffic was blocked in the area for about two hours.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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