Coolant leak forces shop evacuation

18 Sep 2013

Customers and staff had to be evacuated from the Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer stores at Hedge End, near Southampton, on Tuesday afternoon following a coolant leak.

Authorities said 62 people were examined at the scene by paramedics attending emergency calls, with one taken to hospital as a precaution.

Gas leaking from a Sainsbury's refrigerator was found to be the cause, although spokespersons from the fire and ambulance services claim it was not toxic and there had been no risk to the public.

Both stores were evacuated after a number of people complained of feeling unwell. The Marks & Spencer store shares a heating duct with the neighbouring Sainsbury's store, hence the reason it gad to be evacuated as well.

One customer was quoted by the BBC as describing the effect of the gas as feeling "like a frog in the throat that can't be cleared".

The fire service was quick to respond to the call, where it immediately cordoned off the surrounding area and began carrying out a series of air quality tests.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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