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Chemical spill at Ipswich Hospital sparks major fire service response

PUBLISHED: 07:36 04 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:21 08 September 2020

Seven fire engines were called to Ipswich Hospital in the early hours of this morning after a chemical spill in one of the wards. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Seven fire engines were called to Ipswich Hospital in the early hours of this morning after a chemical spill in one of the wards. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Seven patients were moved from a ward at Ipswich Hospital “as a precaution” after a chemical spill in the early hours of this morning.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, has reassured the public that moving patients after the chemical spill was just a 'precaution'.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNNick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, has reassured the public that moving patients after the chemical spill was just a 'precaution'. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Firefighters were called at 4.04am on Friday, September 4 to the Heath Road site after reports of hazardous materials being spilt.

A cleaning material, which is used to disinfect wards by fogging them with a fine mist, had been spilled but there were no casualties.

Seven fire engines and a total of 11 special appliances attended the scene, with more than 30 firefighters in attendance.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) - which runs the hospital - later told BBC Radio Suffolk: “We use a powerful cleaning material to do what we call fogging, which is effectively a fine mist.

“We seal the doors and put the machine in there for a few hours as it cleans the room.

“What has happened is there’s been a spillage of some of the cleaning material and as a precaution we have moved seven of the patients to another part of the hospital.

“No harm has come to any of the patients or staff, but obviously as there are hazardous materials we involved the fire brigade as they are helping with the clean up.”

He was questioned about the large number of firefighters attending the incident and said they never “quite know” when the first call goes out how many will be needed.

He added: “The fire brigade are rightly being cautious as these are vulnerable patients.

“I don’t know exactly what happened yet, it is too early to say. But we will be looking into it.”

A spokesperson for ESNEFT later added: “Our staff dealt with the incident really well and everyone is safe.”


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