UK: Sainsbury’s probe gas leak at Hedge End store, near Southampton, that left 62 needing medical treatment – 180913 2235z

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More than 60 people treated by paramedics after gas leaks from Sainsbury's fridge


Staff and customers wait to be treated in the sites car park (Photo: Robin Jones/Digital South via Telegraph)

Early Report

A major gas leak at a shopping centre tonight left at least 19 people needing urgent medical treatment.

The mystery gas left shoppers and staff at Hedge End retail park near Southampton, Hants, coughing and gasping for breath.

The alarm was first raised at around 5pm when people at the checkout tills of a Sainsbury’s store at the park started feeling ill.

At least one elderly woman was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance and others were treated at the scene.

Dozens of shoppers were later seen wrapped in turquoise, foil emergency blankets as they waited to be checked over by paramedics.

Police evacuated the park, which also includes a large Marks and Spencer store, and placed a 60-yard cordon around the site.

Firemen wearing protective clothing from Hampshire Fire Brigade’s specialist hazardous materials unit were called in to try and find the source of the leak.

A spokesman for the brigade said they had not yet been able to establish the type of gas at the centre of the incident.

More than 10 ambulances were on the scene. South Central Ambulance Service said everybody had been accounted for.

The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and Southampton General Hospital said they were preparing to receive patients if needed. In a statement, Sainsbury’s said: “We can confirm there has been an incident at our Hedge End store this evening.
Wednesday, 18 September, 2013 at 03:34 (03:34 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

Investigation After Gas Leak At Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s has started an investigation after 62 people needed medical treatment because of a gas leak at their Hedge End store near Southampton.

All three emergency services were called to Sainsbury’s in Tollbar Way and the Marks & Spencer next door, just after 5pm on Tuesday 17 September, after shoppers complained of feeling unwell at the tills in Sainsbury’s. Both stores were evacuated.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue confirmed that the source was a leaking refrigerator at the Sainsbury’s store, but said the gas was ‘non-toxic’. M&S was also closed as a precaution.

62 people were checked over for symptoms including coughing, difficulty breathing, chest pains and runny eyes and noses. One person was taken to hospital as a precaution. No-one was seriously affected by the gas.

A 60-yard exclusion zone was put round the stores by police, and hospitals in the area were put on standby.

The fire service checked out the store but later said there was no further risk to the public. Cordons were lifted at around 9pm.

A fire service spokeswoman confirmed that the gas had been identified as a refrigerant. She said:

“We have attended a refrigerant leak at the Hedge End Retail Park on Toolbar Way, Hedge End, Hampshire.

“Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to reassure residents in the local area that there is no public health warning, following earlier reports of a gas leak.”

Sainsbury’s says an investigation into the cause of the gas leak is underway, and anyone affected is asked to call their customer careline.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said:

“Last night at around 6pm, our Hedge End store was evacuated, along with the neighbouring M&S store. Following air quality checks, the emergency services confirmed the site safe at 8.25pm.

“We have worked overnight to conduct further tests and have found no cause for concern, so have reopened the store at 7am today.”

An M&S spokeswoman said that a total of 100 of its staff had been evacuated from the store, and 40 had been treated as a precaution. She said:

“We were advised by police to evacuate our Hedge End store following the detection of a gas leak in an adjacent store. The store remains closed and we are supporting the emergency services.”

Videos

Shopping centre in Southampton evacuated after gas leak, Southampton gas leak

(Video credit: ViralBreakingNews)

Published on Sep 18, 2013

At least 62 shoppers fell ill at Sainsbury’s and M&S supermarkets after gas leaked from a fridge

A shopping centre had to be evacuated and 62 people required medical treatment after a suspected gas leak from a faulty supermarket fridge.
Hazardous materials officers were called to the retail centre at Hedge End, in Southampton, after staff and shoppers at a Sainsbury’s fell ill at the checkout.
A neighbouring Marks and Spencer store also had to be evacuated last night.
Officers from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service entered the building in protective clothing and found the gas was a refrigerant.
Police cordoned off a 60-yard exclusion zone around the two stores.
The alarm was raised when people at the Sainsbury’s check-outs complained of feeling unwell shortly after 5pm.
The Marks and Spencer store was also cleared because it shares the same heating system.
More than ten ambulances were at the scene with paramedics treating people inside the vehicles.
One elderly woman was put into an ambulance and driven away to hospital.
Writing on Twitter, website manager Richard Hillier said: ‘Hopefully the gas leak wasn’t serious.
‘Left Sainsbury’s Hedge End just as emergency services turned up. Haven’t stopped coughing since leaving.’

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