UPDATE: Somersham chemical spray - investigation launched

AN investigation is being conducted into a chemical incident which left 35 people needing medical attention and three in hospital in Somersham today (Friday).

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said officers were making enquiries and would be conducting an investigation into the incident at Phoenix Door Panels Limited in the West Newlands Industrial Estate.

Workers were left feeling nauseous, light headed and weak after inhaling a chemical sprayed on an adjacent field.

All staff were told to leave the premises - around 70 were thought to be at the site. They were allowed to return to work around 12.30pm.

A spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council said: “We received reports that members of staff [at Phoenix] were feeling nauseous, light headed and weak, and that staff could taste chemicals.”

The ambulance service was called at 9.40am to reports of several people being taken ill. Because of the nature of calls being received, the service deployed a hazardous area response team (HART), an ambulance and three operational managers to the incident.

Three people have been taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

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Ambulance service spokesman Gary Sanderson said: “A total of 35 casualties have been assessed by HART and land paramedics at the scene, three of which have been taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital for further assessments.”

Three crews from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service also attended. The Health and Safety Executive have been notified, as has the local doctor’s surgery.

Mr Sanderson added: “This was an excellent team effort including the paramedics who arrived first at the scene, our trust’s HART team and the police and fire service. Throughout the incident, the three emergency services worked very closely together to treat the casualties and ascertain the cause of their sudden illnesses this morning.”

A spokesman for Phoenix Door Panels said he could not comment at this time.