Three people suffer swollen eyes after mysterious dust cloud falls over Elmsett

Manor Road in Elmsett.

Manor Road in Elmsett. - Credit: Su Anderson

Specialist chemical firefighters were sent to a Suffolk village when people reported suffering swollen and itchy eyes after a mysterious dust cloud fell.

The village of Elmsett.

The village of Elmsett. - Credit: Su Anderson

Police received a call at about 4.20pm yesterday from a concerned person asking whether there had been any chemical spills in Elmsett, near Hadleigh.

Officers were sent to the scene in Manor Road and made enquires with local farmers who reported no chemical leaks.

A force spokeswoman said three people reported “itchy” and “swollen” eyes. They were advised to seek medical help while officers worked to establish the cause.

A police spokeswoman said: “We had a call from a member of the public who said they had swollen eyes and so we made initial enquires to determine what it was and where it came from. We then alerted the fire service to analyse the substance.”

Six fire appliances were called at around 9.10pm to the area as well a ‘mass decontamination’ unit.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Combined Fire Control received a call from police informing of an unidentified substance that had formed a mist over the above location [Manor Road] and a white powder had dried onto vehicles etc in the area.

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“On arrival crews found a film of an unidentified substance that had settled. The detection, identification and monitoring team from Essex was then requested to help establish what the substance was and if it was dangerous to the public.”

Tests were carried out with the substance identified as likely to be a ‘food protein powder’.

Fire crews had all left the scene by around 3.15am this morning.