Firefighters tackle chemical spill in Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 13:37 18 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:37 18 October 2016

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

ILIFFE

A laboratory in Cambridge was decontaminated by firefighters after a chemical spillage.

Crews from Cambridge and St Neots, including the hazardous materials unit, were called to a lab in Lensfield Road shortly after 5pm.

About 1kg of phosphorous pentachloride had spilt, reacting with the air to give off hydrogen chloride gas.

Firefighters set up a decontamination area in the laboratory and wore gas-tight suits and breathing apparatus to help clear the materials and make the area safe.

Station Commander Paul Clarke, incident commander, said: “This was a particularly challenging incident because it was on the fourth floor of the laboratory and it was a particularly hazardous substance so safety was of prime importance. The tactical plan was agreed with the on-site specialists whose help was invaluable.”

Hydrochloric acid is harmful to the respiratory system and the eyes.

Firefighters were decontaminated at the scene and returned to their stations by 7.43pm.

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