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Chemical explosion in Sandwich home caused by chlorine

SANDWICH – Members of a Sandwich family are temporarily without a home after a chemical explosion released dangerous fumes inside the house.

Three members of the family – a man, woman and child – were taken to area hospitals after the explosion Monday night because they were having difficulty breathing, Sandwich fire officials said in a written statement.

A spokesman at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora said David Bobee, listed in tax records as the owner of the home in the 1300 block of Kramer Lane, had been treated and released. Fire officials said a woman was taken to Valley West Community Hospital, but there was no record Tuesday of her being admitted as a patient. No information about the child’s condition was available Tuesday.

Sandwich Fire officials said it appeared someone was mixing two brands of swimming pool chlorine in the kitchen when the explosion happened.

“In this case, they reacted with each other with quite a violent explosion,” said Sandwich Fire Chief Bill King.

“They were two different [chlorine] brands with two different consistencies.”

Being inside the house Tuesday posed a threat of chemical exposure and residents were staying with family members until a chemical cleanup makes the area safe for occupancy, King said.

Firefighters were called to the house around 8 p.m. Monday on a report of a possible explosion. When responders arrived at the scene, they could smell a strong odor of chlorine, King said, and many neighbors said they’d heard the blast.

“There was never any danger of that spreading,” he said. “There was no plume of smoke. Everything was fairly contained within the residence.”

Two adults and a child were inside the house when the explosion happened, King said. Two other children in the family were outside.

King encourages pool owners, or anyone dealing with chemicals, to read all instructions carefully.

“You don’t know how one chemical may react with another,” he said. “If you’re having to use multiple chemicals, keep them isolated from each other. Use one chemical at a time and do so outside in a very well-ventilated area.”

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