Vapor cloud forces evacuation at Makiki park - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Vapor cloud forces evacuation at Makiki park

MAKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A portion of Makiki District Park was evacuated as a precaution Saturday morning after firefighters found a possible chemical release.

Witnesses reported seeing a light vapor cloud coming from the equipment room at the swimming pool. Officials took precautions and treated it as a possible hazmat situation. Firefighters wore protective suits as they entered the building to check for any signs of hazardous chemicals.

Several dozen people on the playground and in surrounding areas were told to evacuate.

"We were having our annual Friends of the Makiki Community Library meeting this morning and planned to conduct some business this morning," said Wendy Maxwell, who was among those evacuated.

Honolulu Fire Department officials said there was a variety of chemicals that could have been the source of the vapor cloud.

"Some of them are very toxic, like chlorine," HFD spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig said. "There are others, like acids, that would be more immediately localized through their danger, but when there's a vapor release, it can spread downwind."

After tests were completed, it was determined that a motor to the pool pump malfunctioned, which caused the smoke. People were allowed back in the area a short time later.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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