Essex: Woman in decontamination unit at hospital after chemical incident

A WOMAN has been taken to a decontamination unit at a hospital after a suspected chemical incident in Harlow today.

Firefighters from Harlow and Colchester were alerted shortly before 7am to the garage in Long Ley.

The brigade received reports of a strong smell of chemicals coming from the building.

Four firefighters wearing gas tight suits entered the garage to investigate.

A spokesman for the fire service said the incident is being treated as a chemical incident and the Hazardous Area Response Team were called, while Detection, Identification and Monitoring equipment was in use to identify the substance.


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A woman discovered inside the garage was given oxygen therapy at the scene before being taken to the Princess Alexander Hospital, where a decontamination unit was set up to await her arrival.

Divisional Officer Matt Hughes, incident commander, said fire crews and police officers remain at the scene.

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He said: “We are trying to ascertain whether there was a chemical involved and if so what type.

“The casualty was our first priority. Crews carried out a snatch rescue to save her life and she has been removed to hospital. We are now dealing with the scene.”

Fire crews searched a vehicle and the garage block and a dry decontamination of the affected areas has taken place.

Firefighters were clear of the scene by 11am.

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