Workers die in suspected gas leak at Banham Poultry

Banham Poultry
Image caption The two men were found dead at Banham Poultry in the early hours

Two men have died after a suspected gas leak at a poultry firm in Norfolk.

Police were called to Banham Poultry after reports two subcontractors had been found dead at about 01:10 BST.

The men, aged in their 30s and 40 and from a pest control company, were found dead close to the factory in Station Road, Attleborough.

Police have said a potential refrigeration gas leak near where the men were working was one line of inquiry.

Officers said they believed there was no threat to the wider public as result of the gas leak.

The fire service, police and the Health and Safety Executive remain at the scene "in order to understand the circumstances which led to the men's deaths", it added.

A cordon is in place at the factory and at the nearby railway station, where only the Norwich-bound platform is open.

Earlier, Greater Anglia said Cambridge-bound trains would not stop at Attleborough because of a "chemical spillage" and disruption was expected until further notice.

On Wednesday, Banham Poultry announced it was up for sale, leaving hundreds of jobs potentially at risk.

Two bids are being considered, one of which aims to keep the business in Attleborough, while the other plans to move production elsewhere.

The company is one of Norfolk's biggest employers, with about 1,000 staff.

A spokesperson from Banham Poultry said: "We are deeply saddened and send our deepest condolences to their family and friends.

"We are working closely with the police and health and safety authorities to determine what happened, and are also conducting our own internal investigation."

Image caption The nearby railway station at Attleborough has been cordoned off

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said two ambulances, a rapid response vehicle, three hazardous area response teams and an air ambulance were sent to the factory.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved, two men died at the scene," he said.

Norfolk Fire Service said it sent crews from five fire stations, including two environmental protection units. Crews wore breathing apparatus and used gas monitors to make the area safe.

Image caption Banham Poultry is one of the area's biggest employers

Det Ch Insp Stu Chapman said: "On behalf of Norfolk Police and other emergency services, I offer my condolences to the friends and families of the men killed in this incident and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"Colleagues from Norfolk Fire Service continue to make the scene safe so that detailed investigations can begin between police, fire, and the Health and Safety Executive, to understand the circumstances which lead to the men's deaths."

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