62 people treated after gas leak at UK supermarket

Tuesday 17 September 2013 23.44
Fire Services said the gas leak came from a refrigerant (Picture Jason Beck)
Fire Services said the gas leak came from a refrigerant (Picture Jason Beck)

62 people have received medical treatment after a gas leak at a shopping centre in the UK.

The alarm was raised when customers at the Sainsbury's supermarket in Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire, began to suffer symptoms including coughing and difficulty in breathing.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are treating it as a hazardous materials incident.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the gas had been identified as a refrigerant. 

One person was taken to hospital as a precaution.

"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," the spokesperson said.

It is understood that a total of 62 people were treated by paramedics.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were seen entering the stores and the surrounding area was cordoned off.

An adjoining Marks and Spencer's store was also evacuated.

A spokesperson said it was understood that the gas leak originated at the Sainsbury's supermarket.

"We were advised at 6pm by the police to evacuate the store because we have a shared entrance with Sainsbury's," she said.

"All of our staff have been evacuated and checked and given the all-clear.

"We are providing all the support we can to those on the scene, providing teas and coffees."

A Sainsbury's spokesman said: "We can confirm there has been an incident at our Hedge End store. The store is currently closed and we are working with the emergency services."

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman confirmed the incident was being treated as a hazardous material incident.