Blackpool Victoria A&E unit closes in chemical scare

The accident and emergency department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital was closed amid a chemical scare.

Two men were brought to the hospital on Thursday after falling ill while dealing with an unknown substance at a warehouse in Thornton.

The hospital then cordoned off the A&E unit to allow the area to be decontaminated as a precaution.

A white powder was removed from the ward for analysis by firefighters but it emerged it was a "low hazard" acid.

Hospital bosses said the substance would only have been dangerous if swallowed.

The two men treated were believed to have been suffering from coughs and headaches.

More than 40 firefighters were involved in the incident and a specialist hazardous materials vehicle was brought in from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

Patients already in the A&E unit were still treated during the alert and new emergency patients continued to be seen.

Image caption Emergency patients were still being seen, the hospital said

The hospital stressed that no-one who had been at the hospital on Thursday had any cause for concern that they could be harmed by the substance.

Harry Clarke, director of operations for Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The trust has implemented its decontamination plan.

"Those patients who were already being treated in the A&E department are continuing to receive treatment.

"We have just received confirmation from the fire and rescue service that the substance was a mild acid in pellet form which is considered to be a low hazard and is hazardous only by direct ingestion."

The unit had reopened by 1700 BST.

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