Poisonous gas leak fears meant earlybird swimmers were evacuated from the pool at Levin Aquatic Centre this morning for a major emergency callout.
There were 12 people swimming in different pools at the complex when an alarm rang shortly after 6.30am. They were evacuated immediately, wearing just their swim suits.
Jed Thomas was one of those early morning swimmers and was draped in a towel. He was assessed at the nearby Levin Fire Station as a precaution before being sent home.
Fire crews from Levin were immediately on the scene, while another crew from nearby Shannon arrived shortly after 7am. At one stage, there were five fire engines and crews, police and ambulance at the scene.
At 7.30am, the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms unit from Palmerston North arrived to determine the exact nature of the leak, originally believed to be chlorine.
But after assessing the scene they found no poisonous particles and declared the site safe for entry. The pool would remained closed though, as now tests would be made do determine whether the alarm system was faulty.
Just days earlier staff at the pool had participated in a training exercise for such an event and were well briefed on emergency procedure.
The pool is run by Horowhenua District Council, and Group Manager Customer & Regulatory Services Ian McLachlan said an alarm at the pool sounded when it detected a gas leak.
McLachlan, who was on the scene immediately along with acting chief executive Mark Lester, said he was pleased to learn that staff had followed correct procedure and was full of praise for their efforts.
"Life first," he said.
McLachlan said the pool would remain closed until they could find out why the alarm had sounded. They simply couldn't open and have a repeat siren, prompting emergency services into action again.
"It potentially could be closed for the rest of the day. It's a precautionary measure to ensure that the public are safe," he said.