Eleven people taken to hospital after Banham Poultry chemical spill

Police and fire crews at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRA

Police and fire crews at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - 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.  

Banham Poultry staff outside the factory in Attleborough after a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE

Banham Poultry staff outside the factory in Attleborough after a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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. 

Police and fire crews at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRA

Police and fire crews at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“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. 

Fire crews at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fire crews at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Less than six months later a person was airlifted to hospital following a fire at the site, before another significant blaze broke out in October last year

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.  

Police at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“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.”

A fire fighter at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A fire fighter at Banham Poultry in Attleborough for a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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The fire incident commander talks to Banham Poultry staff outside the factory in Attleborough after

The fire incident commander talks to Banham Poultry staff outside the factory in Attleborough after a chemical incident. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Emergency services could be seen at Banham Poultry in Attleborough on Wednesday August 4.

Emergency services could be seen at Banham Poultry in Attleborough on Wednesday August 4. - Credit: Chris Cope


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