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UPDATE: Four taken to hospital following chemical incident at Rotherwas Industrial Estate
AN inflatable decontamination unit was set up at Hereford county hospital to deal with four people who were admitted following an acid leak at Hereford's Rotherwas Industrial Estate.
The emergency services were alerted at around 1pm yesterday (August 15) after a member of staff at Wye Valley Skips noticed that a drum in a skip brought to the site earlier that day was leaking an unidentified liquid and giving off fumes.
Four members of staff were taken to hospital for precautionary checks and decontamination after possible exposure to the highly toxic liquid and vapours from the liquid, believed to be hydrofluoric acid.
They were successfully decontaminated and released from hospital yesterday evening.
Vanessa Lewis, service unit manager for urgent care at Wye Valley NHS Trust: "It’s not very often that we need to use our decontamination unit, but we rehearse for these events and I’m pleased to say it all happened smoothly and efficiently."
On arrival at the site, firefighters wearing gas-tight chemical protection suits inspected the chemical container and took measures to prevent further leakage and fuming.
The incident was then handed back to the owners of the site to arrange the safe disposal of the substance and the decontamination of the area affected.
The police, a hazardous materials officer, the Incident Response Unit from Droitwich, Worcestershire, and the Environmental Protection Unit from Stourport also attended and the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency have been informed.
Station Commander Neil Pigott from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Exposure to this substance could have had tragic consequences. We would urge people to take extreme caution when handling chemicals and to be careful and considerate regarding their disposal.”