DENVER (CBS4) – An out-of-town youth group is dealing with illness that sent 13 of its members to the hospital Sunday. It was blamed on high levels of chlorine in a pool at a hotel near Denver International Airport, but the hotel has a different story about the illness.

“Three that threw up (at the pool). There’s a couple that threw up in their rooms,” Liza Morrison with Seaford Young Marines said.

Hilton Homewood Suites (credit: CBS)

Hilton Homewood Suites (credit: CBS)

Morrison was talking about her nightmarish Sunday night at the Homewood Suites near DIA.

“Having to make a phone call to a parent at 10, 11 p.m. your time to say ‘your child is on the way to the ER’ is disturbing,” Morrison said.

Morrison is the unit commander of the Seaford Young Marines, a youth education and service group based out of Delaware. She and 13 kids, aged 6 to 17, were staying at the hotel after a trip to Arizona. They had been in the hotel pool for several hours when something went wrong.

“Kids were throwing up in the pool. A lot of them gasping for air, a lot of them complaining about burning skin, burning eyes,” Morrison said.

RELATED: 13 Children Released From Hospital After Chlorine Overexposure

The children were rushed to the hospital after allegedly being exposed to high levels of chlorine. Anthony Shearin with the Homewood Suites says what happened to the kids is a mystery.

“There were people in there before. While they were there and after, other guests that didn’t come down with any symptoms,” Shearin said.

Shearin says the pool and hot tub were thoroughly checked out Monday morning by environmental health experts. They found no problem with the chlorine levels. Shearin believes the problem could lie elsewhere.

“If it was an altitude area or the kids hadn’t eaten enough that day or drank enough that day,” Shearin said. “We’re kind of concerned about that, so we’re letting health officials take care of that.”

Meanwhile, Morrison and her Young Marines are heading home after a trip to Denver they’ll never forget.

“It’s been a rough 18 hours, and honestly I’m just hoping to get home,” she said.

The hot tub had slightly elevated levels of chlorine but it was drained Monday.


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