Stoke & Staffordshire

Chemical leak at Tamworth food depot injures 28

Twenty-eight people have been injured in a chemical leak at a frozen food distribution centre in Staffordshire.

One man suffered severe ammonia burns to his arms in the incident in a compressor room at Brakes in Bonehill Road, Tamworth, at about 1150 BST.

The leak left another 27 people needing treatment, seven of whom were taken to hospital but none were detained.

Police closed off nearby roads, resulting in severe congestion around Tamworth town centre.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said initial reports suggested there were a large number of casualties.

Breathing difficulties

"The most seriously injured was a man in his 30s with 15% burns having been contaminated by the chemical involved," he said.

"He was decontaminated with water by firefighters and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham."

The spokesman added another four people complaining of breathing difficulties were taken to Good Hope Hospital at Sutton Coldfield.

Two others were taken to the minor injuries unit at Robert Peel Hospital in Tamworth.

The remaining casualties were treated at the scene and did not require hospital treatment.

A spokesman for Brakes said the leak happened during routine maintenance.

"Following the incident the centre was immediately and safely evacuated," he said.

"The emergency services have been in attendance and have assured us that there is no cause for concern regarding the ammonia."

No explosion

Staffordshire Fire Service said at least 35 firefighters were sent to the scene after reports the leak had been caused by an explosion.

A spokesman said this had now been put down to the noise ammonia makes when leaking.

Tamworth area commander Del Roberts, of Staffordshire Fire Service, said: "There has been a chemical leak which we can now confirm is a small amount of ammonia.

"Brakes Chilled Food Distribution has been evacuated however there is no cause for concern regarding the ammonia."

Bonehill Road was closed off after the blast, along with part of the A5 and Plantation Lane, but all have now reopened.

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