Suspected chemical leak Kent England, Fifty-seven workers treated

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Suspected chemical leak Kent England, Fifty-seven workers treated.

A major incident was declared this afternoon after a suspected chemical leak left almost 60 farm workers in Kent needing treatment for breathing difficulties.

Paramedics treated fifty-seven workers, believed to be fruit packers aged in their 20s and 30s, who were experiencing dizziness, nausea and breathing difficulties at Rumwood Green Farm.

Seven fire engines and a specialist chemical unit rushed to the scene in Langley near Maidstone at around 2.50pm.

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Meanwhile more than 40 firefighters tried to identify the substance, believed to be carbon monoxide.

All local hospitals were put on standby, with many erecting hazardous materials tents outside A&E departments.

Kent Fire & Rescue Service said the incident was “contained to the site” and crews were wearing special breathing apparatus to protect themselves.

Every year there are around 60 deaths from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales, according to the NHS.

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Kent Fire & Rescue Service said last night: “Emergency services are working together at a commercial site on Sutton Road, Langley near Maidstone treating a number of people experiencing breathing difficulties.

“It is believed those being treated have experienced exposure to carbon monoxide.”

A spokeswoman for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals, said: “Our hospital sites are currently preparing for the arrival of a number of patients who are experiencing breathing difficulties following a suspected chemical incident in Maidstone.

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“As a precautionary measure, a hazardous materials tent has been erected outside the emergency department to help us manage those patients.

“While our emergency departments (EDs) are open as normal, we would encourage people to only use our EDs for emergency and life-threatening situations during this period to help us focus our resources on those who need it most.”

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