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'We will make good what's happened ' - company boss after chemical spill

PUBLISHED: 13:12 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 21:38 24 May 2019

The scene of the chemical leak from the Cornelius Specialties plant in Rookwood Way, Haverhill Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

The scene of the chemical leak from the Cornelius Specialties plant in Rookwood Way, Haverhill Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MARIAM GHAEMI

A factory was evacuated after a chemical spill at a factory in Haverhill sparked a major response from emergency services.

The scene outside Sanofi in Haverhill  Picture: MARIAM CLAYDONThe scene outside Sanofi in Haverhill Picture: MARIAM CLAYDON

Firefighters were called at 12.20pm yesterday to reports of a hazardous material spill in Rookwood Way.

The spill had been caused by a leak from a large tank on the Cornelius Specialties site.

A large quantity of a chemical spilled out onto the road, but there is not believed to be any risk to the public.

The factory, which manufactures chemicals for contact lenses and dental products along with structural adhesives and coatings, was evacuated.

An area of Rookwood Way. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSAn area of Rookwood Way. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Neighbouring companies were able to continue operating with the precautions that workers remained inside and windows were closed.

Eight fire crews were called to the scene - two from Woodbridge, two from Haverhill, one from Holbrook, one from Clare, one from Ixworth and one from Newmarket - and police closed the road.

Dale Nunn, incident commander from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said some of the leak had gone into the drainage system, adding Anglian Water and the Environment Agency were also assisting.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said there was not believed to be any risk to the public, adding the mildly acidic liquid was being diverted to Anglian Water's sewage treatment facility.

They added: "We do not believe that the chemical has reached the nearby Stour Brook, but our officers are sampling the watercourse as a precaution."

One Cornelius employee was splashed with the chemical but is said to be uninjured. The factory has about 30 workers on site.

Darren Spiby, chief executive of Cornelius Specialities, said the business had been operating from Rookwood Way for a number of years, adding it has a "very good health and safety record".

"As a business we pride ourselves on health and safety and environment. My first relief is no-one is injured or hurt which is good, but we have this situation where we have got some effluent which has gone into the drains on the road.

"We have a system to prevent this happen. We need to investigate why this hasn't worked as we expected. We will make good what's happened."

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