Kingston resident says nightclub ‘foam party’ sent him to hospital

Stages Nightclub on Princess Street, pictured here in 2020. Kingstonist file photo by Logan Cadue.

A Kingston resident says he is continuing to deal with eye irritation he developed at a Stages Nightclub “foam party” on Sunday night. 

Bryan Kirkham arrived at the downtown Kingston nightclub at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 7, 2024. He and his friends were enjoying themselves until around 12:30 a.m., he says, when he noticed he was starting to lose his vision.

“The foam started feeling slimy and oily,” Kirkham says. That’s when, Kirkham alleges, he was told that nightclub staff had started using another mixture for the foam. “Apparently they ran out of foam and started using something else at around midnight.”

He left the nightclub with his friends at around 1:30 a.m., walking to a nearby restaurant where he noticed his vision was continuing to deteriorate.

“At that point, my vision was completely blurry. I couldn’t see beyond three feet,” he says.

Kirkham was then driven home, by which point, he says, his eyes were swollen completely shut and burning: “I tried to wash out my eyes with water, the pain was unbearable.” 

That’s when Kirkham made the decision to go to the Emergency Department at Kingston Health Science Centre (KHSC), where his eyes were rinsed with saline solution. Kirkham’s skin and eyes still have not fully recovered from the exposure, he says.

“I’ve now missed a full week of work, and may miss more,” Kirkham shares. 

According to Kirkham, some of his friends also suffered some skin rashes as a result of the incident, though not as badly as his injuries were. KHSC confirmed that they had treated several people for eye irritation in the Emergency Department that evening.

“Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s Emergency Department (located at Kingston General Hospital) saw 10 patients arrive on Sunday night/early Monday morning who had experienced chemical eye exposure and required their eyes to be flushed,” the health-care organization confirmed.

The hospital did not confirm whether all 10 patients had suffered the exposure at the nightclub.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health also confirmed that it is investigating a chemical exposure affecting multiple individuals this week: “KFL&A Public Health was made aware of an increase in patients experiencing eye irritation, unrelated to the solar eclipse. KFL&A Public Health is investigating the cause of this incident to eliminate future risk to the public.”

Kirkham says that he has reached out to Stages nightclub several times, but has not heard back from them yet. He says he bears no ill will against Stages or their employees, and just wants to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

“I have no hatred for the employees or the establishment, I would just like them to make things right and make sure it doesn’t happen again to others,” says Kirkham.

Kingstonist reached out to Stages Nightclub about the incidents. No response was received by time of publication.

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