Two cleaning employees at Park City Mountain Resort’s Red Pine Lodge were transported to the University of Utah burn unit Monday morning, after a chemical cleaner spilled.
Park City Fire District spokesperson Tricia Hurd Hazelrigg says the department responded to a call from the Red Pine Lodge at the Canyons Resort when an employee misused a container of drain cleaner in pellet form.
“They added water, which is what you would do normally, but once it's in the drain with a measured amount," Hurd Hazelrigg said. "They took the jug, and added the water to the jug and then shook it up.”
When the employee noticed the container swelling, people in the area were notified and evacuated, except for the person who mixed the container and one other employee. The first employee attempted to remove the lid to relieve pressure, but the contents of the container spewed, and the container ruptured, spilling chemicals on the two employees and on the walls of the surrounding area. Hurd Hazelrigg says the patients’ breathing was affected by the chemical; one patient’s eyes were affected; and one of them was burned on the arm and torso.
After the patients were transported to the medical center, one by helicopter and one by ambulance, Park City Fire’s hazmat team attempted to clean up the spill with water, but they encountered some difficulties due to the amount of the chemical present and needed to use respirators.
"Because it had splattered on the walls and dried, essentially adding water then recreated the chemical reaction, and so they needed to be on their [breathing apparatuses]," Hurd Hazelrigg said. "Ultimately, they were referred to bring in a cleaning company that could use respirators and finish that clean up."
Later that evening, hundreds attended an event at the Red Pine Lodge for the award of the 2019 Women’s Giving Fund Grant from the Park City Community Foundation. Hurd Hazelrigg says Park City Fire checked the first and second floors of the lodge and determined only the third floor was affected, closing the third floor until the cleaning company finished working and keeping the first and second floors open for the event.
Hurd Hazelrigg reminds people to read the instructions for use on their household cleaners.
“Many people think it's OK to mix chemicals and cleaners and such, and it's just a good reminder to really reconsider when you're thinking about mixing something," Hurd Hazelrigg said. "At the very least, read the containers very carefully as to how they should be utilized.”
A Park City Mountain Resort spokesperson could not be contacted for a comment on the incident, but a desk attendant confirmed the Red Pine Gondola and Lodge were both open Tuesday.