Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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PHOTOS: Chemical incident

Stoneness Road, West Thurrock
06/01/2020 @ 16:20
Incident Number: 115848
In attendance: 2 x Grays, 1 x Orsett, 2 x Basildon (1 x Incident Command Unit), 2 x Rayleigh Weir (1 x Hazmat), 1 x Corringham, 1 x Billericay, 1 x Wickford


At 4.20pm on Monday 6 January 2020 control operators received reports of a cloud of fumes in West Thurrock, following a reaction involving an industrial cylinder.

Emergency services worked together at the scene. Firefighters used a hazardous materials unit as part of work to establish the chemicals involved.

A 100 metre exclusion zone was set up, as is standard for incidents of this type.

Update 4.30pm, Tuesday 7 Jan

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has been working with a health, safety and environment expertise agency who have assessed the air quality at the site of the chemical leak in Thurrock.

The agency has monitored the air quality across the site, including directly next to the chemical leak, and all the readings have shown that it is well within safe levels.

It has therefore been determined that there is no risk to public health.

The Environmental Agency has also been working at the scene. A spokesperson said: “Our air quality team has been working alongside Public Health England to assess the air quality impact of the chemical leak on the general public.

“We have undertaken off-site air quality monitoring in the vicinity of the site, but following liaison with Public Health England, there are no current plans to continue this.

“As this is a regulated site, we will be supporting an investigation with Health and Safety Executive into the causes of this incident.”

A Public Health England spokesperson said: “Public Health England is content that the air quality monitoring today by the Environment Agency shows that the readings are normal, which means that the risk to public health is low.”

Thurrock Council has also confirmed that all schools will be open as normal tomorrow (Wednesday 8 January).

Oliver Road and Stoneness Road will be re-opening shortly.

As part of normal procedures, ECFRS will continue to monitor the site over the coming days.
 

Update 1pm, Tuesday 7 Jan

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rick Hylton said:

"We remain at the scene of a chemical incident in West Thurrock. This has been a complicated incident and we're taking a multi-agency approach with Essex Police, East of England Ambulance Service, Public Health England, Thurrock Council and the Environment Agency to manage the incident. Thank you to all who have been involved.

"As a precautionary measure 15 firefighters were transported to local hospitals overnight and following assessment were released shortly after. 

"The hard work and dedication of our staff and team work across agencies has meant that as things currently stand we have the incident contained and a plan in place to successfully and safely resolve the incident. Our crews are continuing to work hard to support the industrial site management and the Environmental Agency. 

"Although we cannot say exactly when this incident will be resolved, we are looking at hours rather than days. Our priority is to ensure the safety of everyone on scene dealing with the incident, as well as everyone in the surrounding area. 

"Please continue to follow Public Health England's advice of keeping doors and windows closed if you live nearby and turning your vehicle's air conditioning off. If you have existing respiratory problems, keep medication with you and if you feel unwell call 111."

 

Update 10.30am, Tuesday 7 Jan

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager, James Palmer, is currently at the scene and has said:

“Our crews are continuing to work hard supporting the industrial site management team and the Environmental Agency. Over the last hour we have supplied a large amount of water to dilute the chemical substance. We will continue to do this and monitor the progress.

"Thank you again to all local residents for your support and patience while we continue to manage this incident. At this moment, we cannot say when this incident will be resolved or when the roads will be reopened. Our priority is to ensure that we manage this incident in the safest possible way.”

 

Update 8.30am, Tuesday 7 Jan

Emergency services continue to work together at the scene of a chemical incident in West Thurrock.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the industrial site’s management team, supplying a large quantity of water to the chemical which will dilute the product. It is expected that this will suppress the cloud.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We have been supporting the emergency services and Public Health England to respond to a large chemical spill in Thurrock.

"We have deployed Air Quality Monitoring equipment over night to support the Public Health England.

"This is a regulated site, which means it is subject to regular monitoring and inspections.”

Public Health England advice: Please keep doors and windows closed if you live nearby. If you’re in a car or lorry in the area, keep your air conditioning turned off. If you have existing respiratory problems, keep medication with you and if you feel unwell call 111.

Schools closures: It has been recommended that schools in West Thurrock, Purfleet and Chafford Hundred remain closed on Tuesday 7 January as a precaution to prevent pupils from being exposed to fumes coming from the site which can be a minor irritant. Check school websites and social media to find out if your child’s school is affected.

Road closures: Oliver Road and Stoneness Road remain closed.

Aviation: If you have any questions or concerns about an aviation related issue please contact National Air Traffic Control Centre.

 

Update 5am, Tuesday 7 Jan - message from Thurrock Council

School closures
It has been recommended that schools in West Thurrock, Purfleet and Chafford Hundred remain closed on Tuesday 7 January as a precaution to prevent pupils from being exposed to fumes coming from the site which can be a minor irritant.

Check school websites and social media to find out if your child’s school is affected.

 

Update 11pm - OVERNIGHT STATEMENT

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents in the Thurrock area to continue following safety advice following a chemical leak at an industrial site.

Neil Fenwick, Area Manager, said: “This incident is likely to run throughout the night and into Tuesday morning, so please continue to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.

“Before starting your journey in the morning, please check for further advice and allow additional time for a road closure on Oliver Road that will likely still be in place.

“Thank you to local residents for their patience and support while emergency services continue to manage this incident.”

Please keep doors and windows closed if you live nearby. If you’re in a car or lorry in the area, keep your air conditioning turned off. If you have existing respiratory problems, keep medication with you and if you feel unwell call 111.

Full details of this incident are available on our website: essex-fire.gov.uk/incidents

 

Update 9.15pm

Neil Fenwick (pictured right), Area Manager at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, is currently at the scene and has said: “We understand that the cloud includes an amount of hydrochloloric acid.

"A 100 metre exclusion zone was created at the site earlier today as a precautionary measure.

"We now know that these fumes were caused by a tank that has failed, the leak is contained to within the site.

"Firefighters are now safely managing the leak and this process is expected to continue for some time.

"Six crews took over the incident at 8.30pm from the crews who initially attended.

"Emergency services are working hard to make the site safe again as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. Road closures around the site continue to remain in place.

"If you live nearby, the advice is that you should stay inside and keep all windows and doors closed."

Health advice: Please keep doors and windows closed if you live nearby. If you’re in a car or lorry in the area, keep your air conditioning turned off. If you have existing respiratory problems, keep medication with you and if you feel unwell call 111.

 

Update 8.15pm

Six fire engines will be arriving at 8.30pm to take over from the crews who initially attended. A 100 metre exclusion zone remains in place at the scene.

If you live nearby, please ensure that you remain indoors and keep windows and doors closed.

 

Update 6.30pm

Firefighters are continuing to work alongside other emergency services at the scene. The 100 metre exclusion zone remains in place along with road closures in the area.

Please avoid the area. If you live nearby, stay inside and close all windows and doors.

Incident Images

  • West Thurrock 2
  • PHOTO-2020-01-06-19-09-40
  • Thurrock 3
  • Thurrock Neil
  • PHOTO-2020-01-07-1
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