Four treated after chemical alert

FOUR people needed treatment after breathing in noxious fumes from chemicals at Felixstowe port's canteen.Two domestic cleaning fluids had mixed together at Centenary House, at the Trinity Terminal, causing a chemical reaction.

FOUR people needed treatment after breathing in noxious fumes from chemicals at Felixstowe port's canteen.

Two domestic cleaning fluids had mixed together at Centenary House, at the Trinity Terminal, causing a chemical reaction.

The port's own ambulance and fire teams rushed to the incident in one of the port's three canteens just before 1pm yesterday .

They then drafted in the help of the county's emergency services, including seven fire vehicles and three ambulances.

Two men and two women, who worked for a catering firm sub-contracted to the port, breathed in the irritant fumes from the liquid and became unwell.

Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager for the port, said an investigation had been launched into the circumstances of the incident.

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He added: "Two cleaning fluids, which were chemicals, were mixed together. We are not sure how or why at this stage.

"The result was that it gave off noxious fumes from the reaction. Four of the kitchen staff were affected by the noxious fumes by breathing them in. They were not seriously affected by it.

"However, because there was the presence of noxious fumes in the building it was evacuated temporarily while the spill was cleared and it was ventilated.

"The incident was attended, in the first instance, by the port's own fire and ambulance service. They were subsequently supported by the county's fire service.

"Our services were called at 12.54pm. It was all over and everyone was back in the building by 2pm, so it lasted just over an hour from start to finish."

A spokeswoman for the East Anglian Ambulance Trust said: "Nobody was taken to hospital as they had non-life threatening symptoms.

"They were advised to visit hospital if any priority symptoms developed. Three ambulances attended and an official as well."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk fire service said they were called at 12.58pm to a "chemical leak with casualties involved."

Two fire engines from Felixstowe, two from Ipswich, one from the dock, an operational support unit from Haverhill and a control unit from Felixstowe went to the incident, she said.

"Suffolk fire service assisted the port fire service in ventilating the premises and clearing up the spillage," the spokeswoman added.

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