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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Toxic scare after cleaning pool
Dave and Jenny Sharpe
Dave and Jenny Sharpe with their swimming pool.
A woman from Barry caused a major chemical alert in the town as she cleaned her swimming pool.

Four fire engines, an ambulance, and police officers cordoned off the street around her home in Cadoxton after she created a potentially fatal chlorine cloud.

Jenny Sharpe, 48, accidentally mixed the cleaning chemicals incorrectly.

She said her husband, Dave, usually cleaned the 15ft pool in their garden, but he was away at work.

"I've seen my husband do it before and I thought it was simple," she said.

"I had been nagging him to do it but he hadn't got around to it.

When the bowl started exploding like a volcano I knew I was in trouble
Jenny Sharpe

"Apparently I did everything wrong - and it exploded in a bang.

"I was very relieved when the fire engines turned up even though I was very embarrassed."

Mrs Sharpe's mistake was to mix two different types of chlorine together, and then add boiling, instead of lukewarm, water

"When the bowl started exploding like a volcano I knew I was in trouble," she said.

"My eyes started to water and I could feel myself choking."

She then tipped the mixture into the kitchen sink.

"Suddenly there was an enormous bang. I was in a right panic. There were things exploding in my kitchen," she said.

Mrs Sharpe telephoned her son Ross, an ex-soldier who had been trained in chemical warfare.

He told her to leave the house immediately but Mrs Sharpe didn't want to leave her pets behind.

We've apologised to all our neighbours for all the fuss
Dave Sharpe

"I would have listened to him but I've got two chinchillas and two husky dogs. I didn't want to desert them," she said.

When her husband, Dave, 49, arrived home from work, he called the emergency services because of the fumes above the garden.

"I dialled 999 and within minutes all three arrived and cordoned off the street," he said.

"The firemen sorted it all out and Jenny was lucky to get out unharmed. We've apologised to all our neighbours for all the fuss."

The couple were taken to hospital but both were found to be fine.


A fire service spokesman said it was important to read the manufacturer's instructions when using strong chemicals.

"It was fortunate that no-one was injured and we are always happy to give advice to people handling these chemicals.

"When mixing chemicals to be used in a domestic swimming pool it is important that manufacturers' instructions are strictly adhered to in relation to quantity and dilution rates.

"Also it should be insured that the container for mixing is clean and not contaminated by other chemicals or products."


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