ERIE, PA. Fumes force evacuation of hotel on New Year's Eve



ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- Erie County emergency officials said they may never know what caused the chlorine fumes that forced a hotel to be evacuated and 23 people to be taken to hospitals Tuesday.
Nine people were admitted to Erie hospitals and, by Wednesday night, only four remained in the hospital as a precautionary measure, all of them children, said officials at Metro Health Medical/Osteopathic Hospital.
Their names and ages were not released Wednesday night.
The fumes originated in the swimming pool area of the EconoLodge on upper Peach Street in Erie, authorities said. But police said they don't know what caused the problem.
The hotel uses a tablet form of chlorine to keep pool water clear, rather than a gaseous form that is more dangerous, authorities said.
Nick Sleptzoff, county emergency management director, said he's heard of fumes arising in cases where people "shock" a pool by pouring pure chlorine into it -- but hotel owner Nick Scott Sr. said nobody shocked the pool Tuesday.
The hotel had about 300 guests who were evacuated about 10 p.m. Tuesday, but allowed to return to their rooms just after midnight. People in about 40 rooms opted to return and were given a free night of lodging; the other guests were put up in rooms in a nearby hotel.

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