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Launceston Chemical Spill Leaves Four Hurt

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6:37am 29th August 2013
(Updated 6:37am 29th August 2013)

A clear up operation is complete in Launceston after a chemical spill left four people hurt.

Around forty-five firefighters were scrambled to the scene at the Pennygillam industrial estate on Wednesday morning, some wearing gas-tight suits.

Back up was called in from Liskeard, Callington, St Austell and Saltash.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Fire and Rescue said: "These include five major pumping appliances and some specialist appliances, and Operational Support Vehicle, Environmental Support vehicle and Command Support Vehicle."

Four members of staff at Kensey Foods were left with minor injuries when a chemical fell on top of an acid tank - causing it to bubble over.

They suffered breathing difficulties and minor chemical burns.

Three were taken to hospital after being put through a mobile decontamination unit.

Firefighters say around 500 litres of acid was spilled at around 6am on Wednesday morning.

Critical incident manager Inspector Martin Taylor told Pirate FM: "There's no effect to anyone outside the area. Clearly there is danger, because we've got the cordons up. But there is no effect outside the area. There is no water contamination. There is no airborne contamination. There is nothing that can't be contained and cleared up."

Richard Gibbons from Cornwall Fire and Rescue said: "We're now confident the spillage is confined to the local area where it occurred. We've committed our breathing apparatus teams with hoses to wash it down and dilute the chemical."

Spencer is the manager at a nearby cash and carry. He said: "I tried to come to work and all the cars are parked up round the roundabout - and then the grapevine said there was a chemical spill.

"We're trying to get the vans out - they've got to do their daily work. If you don't get it done today then you've got to fit tomorrow's and today's in somehow. So the quicker they're on the road the better."

The Royal Mail says the spill will disrupt postal deliveries. A spokesman said: "We will be unable to perform any deliveries in the Launceston Delivery Office (PL15 and PL16) area today.

"The Enquiry Office at Launceston is also closed. If you've received a 'Something for you' card from us and were planning to collect your item today, please hold on to this for the time being.

"We may be able to perform collections later today, however, it's not known at this stage when access to the Delivery Office will be possible.

"We apologise to our customers in the Launceston area for any inconvenience this may cause."

The council is warning the spill could delay rubbish collections - but say locals should still put waste and recycling out as normal.

The household waste recycling centre has reopened.

6:37am 29th August 2013

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