Northern Ireland

Kilkeel fish plant: Two 'stable' after ammonia leak

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption'We're looking out for cough, shortness of breath and symptoms of chest pain'

Two people are in a stable condition in hospital following a suspected ammonia leak at a fish factory in Kilkeel, County Down on Monday.

Emergency services attended the scene at Young's Seafood processing factory in the town's harbour.

Fourteen people were taken to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry for assessment. A major incident was declared, but has now been stood down.

The company said it expected production at the factory to resume on Tuesday.

The alert was raised shortly after 12:30 BST on Monday. Eight ambulances were sent to the scene.

Image copyright PAK AERIAL MEDIA
Image caption Patients are being treated at Daisy Hill Hospital

The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said the cause of the leak had been isolated before they arrived.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus surveyed the site with gas monitors to check for the presence of ammonia gas - all readings were zero.

They gave oxygen to two people before paramedics arrived.

Image caption The alarm was raised at the plant on Monday afternoon

A number of other people were also assessed by paramedics at the scene.

The air ambulance also attended, along with three fire appliances.

The NIFRS said there was no risk to the public.

Group commander Alan O'Neill said: "When crews arrived, the gas leak had actually been isolated but the crews then carried out a search of the premises with breathing apparatus and gas monitors to just ensure that there was no further gas on the site.

"It wouldn't be something that we come across regularly - it's obviously very dangerous - so thankfully on this occasion there doesn't seem to be any significant impact from this leak."

He said the Health and Safety Executive would be carrying out a further investigation at the site.

In a statement Young's Seafood said that engineers were conducting routine annual tests when there was a "small leak", and that the leak was stopped immediately.

"There are no reports at this time of any Young's employee being affected by the leak," they said.

Image copyright Pak Aerial Media

"The fire and rescue team attended the site and we have received confirmation that it is safe to re-enter.

"We expect production on the site to resume tomorrow and our focus is on ensuring the safety and welfare of our team and continuing to provide our customers and consumers with great quality fish and seafood."

Related Topics