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Ipswich: Investigation launched after chemical spill causes misery for motorists and businesses

PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 November 2012 | UPDATED: 09:19 16 November 2012

Suffolk emergency services work at the scene of a chemical spill outside a dry cleaners in Norwich Road

Suffolk emergency services work at the scene of a chemical spill outside a dry cleaners in Norwich Road

Archant

AN investigation is to be carried out after more than 100 litres of hazardous cleaning chemicals spilled on to Norwich Road, causing chaos for motorists and businesses.

Traffic was brought to a standstill and traders lost out on vital business after the major incident yesterday morning.

It is understood a waste disposal worker was collecting the chemicals from Quality Dry Cleaners when a container was dropped on the street, causing the contents to spill at about 11.20am yesterday.

Firefighters were scrambled to the incident and a 50-metre cordon was put around the scene as the emergency services worked to clean up the mess.

Traffic delays were caused as motorists were diverted off the main road.

Mrs Kuru, the manager of the dry cleaners, said: “They came in and took the barrel out of the shop.

“The barrel was on a trolley and I don’t know if the person tripped or not but they were trying to put the barrel on to the truck.

“I heard a noise and then I saw the barrel and the liquid.”

The Environment Agency and paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Trust were also called to the scene. One man was taken to hospital by ambulance crews complaining of a headache after inhaling the fumes.

The liquid, tetrachloroethylene, which is used for dry cleaning, was finally cleared just after 4pm and the road was then re-opened.

Residents were asked to avoid the area and to close windows and doors as a precaution. Businesses were forced to close up for most of the day.

Will Lowe, 18, a graduate stylist at Robinsons Hair and Beauty, said: “A fireman came in and said we are not allowed out of the shop and people aren’t allowed in because there has been a spill.

“We work on appointments so we have had to phone clients and say we are not able to let you in.”

Jason Harris, an engineer at Domestic Appliances, added: “It has been rubbish today because no customers are allowed anywhere near us.”

A spokesman for WasteCare, the waste disposal company involved in the incident said they would not be willing to comment on the incident until a full report has been compiled.

All businesses were expected to be open for business today.

■ Were you caught up in the traffic yesterday? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters @archant.co.uk

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