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Six people in hospital with breathing difficulties after fumes force evacuation of Earls Colne factory

PUBLISHED: 16:25 05 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:42 05 June 2017

Earls Colne Business Park. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Earls Colne Business Park. Picture: CONTRIBUTED


A large factory in north Essex was evacuated earlier today after fumes leaked from a machine.

Four fire engines and the hazardous materials unit from Rayleigh Weir were sent to the premises in Earls Colne Industrial Park at around 12.18pm today.

Several people – six in total – who were affected by the fumes were taken to Colchester General Hospital with breathing difficulties.

Firefighters at the scene evacuated the building shortly after they arrived to make the area safe.

Fumes were found to be coming from a machine which is used to heat bottles on a conveyer belt.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Firefighters were called to a factory in the Earls Colne Industrial Park after fumes were reported in the building.

“The fire service sent four fire engines plus the Hazmat vehicle which carries specialist equipment to safely deal with incidents involving hazardous materials.

“The building was evacuated while crews made the scene safe. The heater had melted the plastic inside the section of machine which had caused the fumes. 
They added: “Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building to ventilate the affected area.

“Six people who were affected by the fumes suffered breathing difficulties and were taken to Colchester General Hospital.”

Fire crews from Colchester, Coggeshall, two from Halstead and another two from Raleigh Weir worked for just under two hours to make the area safe.

They had left the scene by approximately 2.10pm.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said the six patients were all believed to be in a stable condition.

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