3 overcome by acid fumes as firefighters tackle Shadwell chemical spillage

PUBLISHED: 14:51 24 August 2012

Three people had to be taken to hospital overcome by acid fumes after a dangerous chemical spillage in London’s East End today.

Emergency crews were brought in from eight fire-stations when fumes leaked into the air from the spillage at an industrial park in Shadwell at 7am.

Neighbours and passers-by dialled 999 to report smoke in the area.

But the Fire Brigade discovered the steam-like smoke was actually chemical fumes from two leaking containers of sulphuric acid.

A 100ft cordon was thrown up around the Heckford Business Centre, off The Highway, as crews wearing full chemical protection suits battled for more than an hour to neutralise the acid and stop the leak.

Shadwell fire-station watch manager David Todd said: “The spillage was quite extensive and we had to use 100 kilos of soda ash to neutralise the acid and keep it from spreading.”

A couple and a man nearby were affected by the fumes and were treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics, then taken to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Around 50 firefighters from Shadwell, Poplar, Whitechapel, Millwall, Bethnal Green, Bow, East Ham, and Homerton fire stations were at the scene. It took more than an hour to bring the incident control. The cordon was lifted at 8.20am.

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