Thirteen Jersey City youngsters were left gasping for breath after being exposed to chlorine fumes at Lincoln High School's swimming pool yesterday when pool chemicals were mixed improperly, officials said.A pool maintenance worker "mixed the chemicals in the wrong order and then panicked and ran and dumped them in a toilet and a cloud formed," said Fire Department Deputy Director Jerry Cala at the scene yesterday afternoon.

The deputy director did not say what chemicals, other than chlorine, had been mixed.

Some of the children were coughing and others vomited, a pool worker said.

As a result, 13 people were taken to the Jersey City Medical Center and Bayonne Medical Center to be treated for exposure to the fumes, Cala said, adding that it was expected they would be treated and released.

Cala said about two thirds of those taken to the hospital were children in a city recreation program and the rest were "young adult" staff members.

A locker attendant at the pool, who didn't want to be named, said the kids in the program are 12 and 13 years old. She said her boss was mixing the chlorine to add to the pool, "and it turned yellow, and it was making little suds and bubbles," which isn't normal.

"There were seven kids in the pool and I told them to get out. And then they started throwing up," she said of the children, who are participants in a Jersey City Recreation Department program at nearby School 12 that uses the Lincoln High pool.

The affected students were hosed off near the street on the school's Crescent Avenue side. They were then seated on the school steps and given oxygen before being whisked away in Amcare,McCabe and Kerney ambulances that had responded from Jersey municipalities.

The Fire Department's High Rise Unit responded with fans used for clearing smoke from high-rise floors and stairwells, and they were used to blow the fumes out of the school building.

After the ambulances left, firefighters flushed out toilets in the building to make sure the chemicals were gone and the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority was notified of their release into the city sewer system. Hudson Regional Health Commission workers also responded to take air samples to insure the area was safe, Cala said.

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