FAIRMONT — More than a dozen people were sent to area hospitals to be treated for chlorine gas exposure after an explosion caused a leak of chlorine gas at Fairmont Hot Springs resort on Saturday.
Ethan Lawson and his friends had just arrived to enjoy a sunny day at the resort when they saw staff and guests begin to rush out the front doors.
"We just saw all the emergency vehicles starting to come in and we were ushered away and told that there was some sort of leak," said Lawson.
The Butte-Silver Bow Fire Department was on the scene to determine the location and cause of the chlorine gas leak.
The explosion occurred in a storage unit where chlorine tablets are stored.
"There was a pressure buildup in the chlorine system and some of those chlorine pucks built up pressure and it popped the lid off the tube and that was where some of the gas escaped." said Battalion Chief Chad Silk of the Butte-Silver Bow Fire Department.
Eighteen people were taken to hospitals in Anaconda and Butte to be monitored by a physician and given treatment.
The fire department cleared the hotel lobby and conference area for guests to return inside.
"Fairmont staff did a great job with evacuating all the people here and taking care of their staff, and they’ve been more then accommodating for us and really wanted to do the best thing for their clients," said Silk.
Lawson says he doesn’t understand how the gas leak could have happened in the first place.
"It’s very interesting that that was able to happen here at all," he said.
The fire department is continuing to monitor the situation.