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Indiana Waterpark Shut Down After Children Suffer Chemical Burns From Chlorine

Jun 21, 2017

An Indiana waterpark was shut down by the local health department Monday after two children suffered chemical burns from chlorine in the water of the children's section, officials said.

The Porter County Health Department found several violations during an inspection at the Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland in Porter, Ind., including problems that could have prevented the park from opening last week for the start of the season, department administrator Keith Letta said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"This has gone beyond theoretical because we've had people injured," Letta told the paper, adding that the park will remain closed until the issues are rectified.

Seven Peaks opened Thursday, according to its website, but did not have an inspection or its water tested — both of which are required under state law — prior to opening, Letta said.

The equipment that measures chlorine levels malfunctioned, he said, resulting in the pumping of too much of the disinfecting chemical into the children area's water. Too little of the substance can allow bacteria to grow, but too much can cause chemical burns, Letta added, explaining that when the equipment fails to operate correctly, "there's no way of knowing whether there is too much or too little."

Porter resident Heather Gonzalez had taken her son Alexander, 7, and daughter Charley, 3, to the park on Thursday, she told the Tribune, when they decided to enter the wave pool.

"We were [at the park] maybe an hour-and-a-half and my daughter started complaining that her legs hurt," Gonzalez told the paper.

Upon arriving home, Charley went to the bathroom "and she was screaming," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez found that parts of her daughter's legs were red and "almost bubbly," she added. A pediatrician on Friday told her that her daughter had a chemical burn. Charley was still recovering as of Monday, according to the Tribune.

Seven Peaks purchased the park after its predecessor, Splash Down Dunes, sat vacant for several years. The health department worked with park representatives since reopening Seven Peaks and haven't experienced any issues since, Letta said.

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