Several children injured by mystery substance at Mission Spray Park

Click to play video 'Several children hurt after exposure at  Mission spray park' Several children hurt after exposure at Mission spray park
A scare for several families in Mission after their kids suffered injuries linked to exposure to "something toxic" at a local spray park. Grace Ke explains what happened and what parents suspect the mysterious substance could be. – Jul 15, 2020

Several parents in Mission, B.C., are concerned after their kids were hurt by a mystery substance at a spray park.

First responders were called to the Mission Leisure Centre Tuesday morning, according to a District of Mission spokesperson.

Parent Carli Emary said several kids suffered irritation to their eyes and mouths after coming into contact with a pepper spray-like substance.

“One of the girls started to experience a lot of pain in her eyes and her mouth, and she couldn’t open them. Eventually, my daughter came to me afterwards with the same symptoms in her mouth, just a burning sensation,” mother Colleen Draganov said.

Draganov’s five-year-old daughter Ayla was one of six who needed to be treated.

“I saw a whole bunch of kids crying, yelling, screaming, and my daughter actually had a water hose in her mouth, watering her mouth,” father Sunny Draganov said. “And she was crying, she was yelling. It was a very tough sight to see, especially with your own kids.”

Story continues below advertisement

Emary’s six-year-old son William needed to be treated in hospital.

Click to play video 'Challenges of enforcing distancing at spray parks' Challenges of enforcing distancing at spray parks
Challenges of enforcing distancing at spray parks – Jun 19, 2020

“He got it sort of worse than some of the other kids,” she said. “It was really in his eyes a lot.”

It’s unclear what caused the reaction or if there was any intentional tampering. Some parents believe the reaction was consistent with pepper spray.

Read more: Closed playgrounds can open safely, experts say. Here’s why

District of Mission communication director Taryn Hubbard said the spray park was closed immediately.

“We tested the water,” she said. “We had our public works staff, our public works crews out there testing the water to ensure that there was no issue with our water, which there wasn’t.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mission RCMP are now investigating.

Cpl. Nathan Berze said they are looking at all avenues and trying to identify the origin of the substance.

“I have young children myself and it makes me sick to my stomach.”