Shipdham chemical leak forces family gathered for jubilee to huddle in car in middle of the night

Three generations of a family who gathered to watch the Queen's jubilee on TV were forced to spend the early hours of this morning huddled in a cold car because of a chemical scare.

The drama at the Shipdham Industrial Estate, off Mile Road, started just before 10.30pm on Monday June 4 when 'white steam' drifting across the road got in the throat of a passerby.

She warned June Wyatt, 74, who lives nearby, and firefighters from Hingham, Dereham, Carrow, Sprowston, Watton and Wymondham were dispatched to the site. The last crew did not leave until 7am.

Mrs Wyatt and her 82-year-old husband had invited their daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and her boyfriend around to watch the coverage of the royal festivities.

She said: 'The fire brigade told us to get out because they could not get in touch with the owners and they did not know what the substance was. There's a chemical store in there and there was all this white stuff pouring out.

'We were just watching the show on the TV when all this happened. We sat in the car on the road until the early half of the morning because they would not let us back.'

Mrs Wyatt said the family decided to go to her daughter's in Dereham for a hot drink at about 2am before returning to their house an hour later, but went back to the town for some sleep when they were told the site was still sealed off.

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A fire service spokesman said firefighters isolated the leak but were not able to identify the substance.

Mrs Wyatt said: 'We began to think if we had not known about it we might not have woken up. It was scary at the time.'

She added her 75th birthday celebrations next week would hopefully be less dramatic.

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