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Staff flee factory chemical spillage

07 September 2011

Staff at a factory in Cambridgeshire were recently forced to evacuate when a potentially lethal chemical spill injured two workers; triggering a massive response from emergency services.

A decontamination area was set up by hazmat teams attending the chemical spill
A decontamination area was set up by hazmat teams attending the chemical spill

Omega Foundry Machinery’s employees fled their building when a chemical, originally thought to be ammonia, oozed out of a broken pipe.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue mobilised its specialist hazardous materials (hazmat) crews from St. Neots as well as two other engines and a rescue vehicle, with about 20 firefighters on the scene.

Two workers were treated at the scene by paramedics for minor inhalation of fumes. The hazmat team initially believed that they were dealing with 50 litres of ammonia, but it was later confirmed to be about 10 litres and thought to be triethylamine.

Triethylamine is extremely flammable and readily forms explosive mixtures with air.

The hazmat team set up a decontamination area outside the factory which could be used to clean off anyone who went inside.

Firefighters in full protective clothing entered the building and used sand to soak-up the liquid to make the scene safe.

The Health and Safety Executive has said that it had not yet been informed of the incident.

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