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Several children get sick during birthday party at pool

By: Janet Kim Email
By: Janet Kim Email

Several children had to be taken to a hospital Thursday night after getting sick during a birthday party at a Mercer County pool.

Officials at the Anderson Dean Pool in Harrodsburg are running tests Friday.

The Anderson Dean Pool reopened at about 1:30 Friday afternoon, but for several families we talked to, it may be some time before they want to step foot at this pool any time soon.

"It was terrible; it was awful."

Not the words Jamie Griffieth wanted to describe the birthday party she threw for her son, Bailey, this year. Children at the private party began getting sick at the community pool when excess chlorine was released into the water.

"It was like a horror movie," says Jennifer Foley, Griffieth's sister who was also at the party with her daughter.

Officials say a lightning strike turned off the water pump. When it was turned back on, high levels of chlorine was released.

"As soon as the pump was on, I got people hollering," says Mark Bryant, the Anderson Dean Park director.

Park and Health officials checked the chlorine levels at the pool multiple times Thursday and Friday. Witnesses say more than 20 people were taken to the local hospital, including a 4-year old rushed to UK Hospital after having a seizure.

"I walked by my daughter, and I didn't even recognize her because here eyes were so swollen and she looked so ill," says Pamela Newman, a parent at the party.

By Friday morning, Griffieth says all the children had been released from the hospital, but the incident was traumatic enough where she says she'll be throwing birthday parties elsewhere. She has asked for a refund for the party.

Park officials say the water pumps has shut off before during storms, but the chlorine has never leaked out in that way before.

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