Eleven people taken to hospital after Banham Poultry chemical spill
Emily Thomson and Thomas Chapman
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
Eleven people were taken to hospital following a chemical spill at the Banham Poultry factory in Attleborough.
Ambulance crews were scrambled to the Station Road site shortly after 9.30am on Wednesday (August 4) morning.
It followed reports that a number of people in the area were struggling to breathe.
Medical personnel were joined by five fire crews from across the county and police, who shut the road.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service subsequently confirmed the incident was a hazardous materials leak rather than a blaze.
A total of 14 patients were treated at the scene, with 11 of those taken to hospital for further treatment.
In a statement, Blaine van Rensburg, managing director at the meat processing plant, said efforts to establish the cause of the leak were ongoing.
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“Emergency services have been on site since this morning to monitor the situation and to ensure safety,” he said on Wednesday afternoon.
“The specific area has been monitored and no chemical residues could be detected. Further monitoring is currently being conducted.
“The exact cause is unknown at this stage but is reported to be a reaction between cleaning chemicals. This is extremely unlikely as these solutions are used daily, without incident.”
Wednesday’s incident was not the first time emergency services have been sent to Banham Poultry in recent years.
In October 2018, pest control subcontractors Neil Moon and Jonathan Collins were found dead at the factory, signalling the launch of an ongoing health and safety probe.
The business was besieged by problems in 2020 as it suffered one of Norfolk's biggest coronavirus outbreaks.
Rhodri Oliver, Norfolk county councillor for the area, said: “It is very concerning to see this happen on the Banham Poultry site.
“Residents are rightly concerned about how such an incident occurred and what has gone wrong.
“Clearly a full investigation will need to be carried out so that members of the public can be reassured that no one else will be put at risk.”
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