July 28 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Six police officers were taken to hospital after burglars triggered a chemical alert at a house in Ipswich.
A section of Harebell Road, on the Chantry estate, was cordoned off by police for around three hours after officers were called at 8.10pm on Wednesday to reports of a burglary at an empty property in the street.
The offenders had fled the scene before officers arrived. They found a concoction of chemicals from the house had been poured down the sink, causing a reaction of potentially harmful vapours.
Two neighbours from the property adjoining the semi-detached house were evacuated, while police went door-to-door along the road warning residents to stay indoors and shut windows and doors.
Six officers who entered the burgled house were taken to Ipswich Hospital as a precautionary measure. They were checked over and were allowed to resume their duties last night.
Three youths spotted running away from the house when officers arrived were not caught.
Some people returning home were shocked to see their road cordoned off, and were forced to abandon their cars in nearby streets before being escorted to their houses.
A police cordon which closed a section of the road was lifted shortly before 11.30pm.
Residents of Harebell Road and surrounding streets gathered in front of their homes, some in their dressing gowns, to look at the commotion.
One onlooker, who lives opposite Harebell Road, said: “Everyone is out of their houses looking at what is going on.
“We are allowed back into our homes but there are a lot of people getting headaches because of the fumes. It smells like a science lab.”
Her brother added: “I smelt something strong in the air, like hydrochloric acid. Our 88-year-old aunty lives in the road and we’ve not been able to get hold of her, but we think she’s just asleep.”
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said it was an isolated incident, with no other reports of break-ins leading to a chemical incident.
The fire service and a specialist team from the East of England Ambulance Service were also called to the scene.
Officers unaffected by the chemical alert carried out an investigation at the house.
Enquiries in to the burglary continue.
Call police with information on 101.