More than 30 firefighters called to chemical spill at Ipswich Hospital
Seven patients have been moved from a ward "as a precaution" after a chemical spill at Ipswich Hospital this morning.
More than 30 firefighters had been called to the hospital after the first reports of the spillage of hazardous materials at 4.05am.
The hospital said no patients or staff have been harmed, but it is now looking into what happened to "make sure it doesn't happen again".
Speaking to BBC Radio Suffolk this morning, chief executive Nick Hulme said they had been cleaning one of the rooms through a process known as "fogging" which is standard if someone has had an infection.
Mr Hulme said it wasn't Covid-related, but there had been someone with another infection.
"We use quite a powerful cleaning tool, as you'd understand, to do something called fogging which is effectively a very thin mist," he said.
"We seal the doors and put this machine in for a few hours and it cleans the room.
"What's happened is, there's been a slight spillage of some of the cleaning material and as a precaution, we've moved seven patients, six from a bay near the side room and one patient from an adjoining side room, into another part of the hospital."
Mr Hulme said there had not been any harm to patients or staff but as it was a hazardous material, the fire brigade had been involved and were helping with the cleaning operation.
Asked why such there was such a large fire bridge presence at the hospital, Mr Hulme said: "I think you never quite know when a call goes out for hazardous material, it could be something relatively straightforward right through to something which could require those numbers."
He added that the fire service were "rightly being super cautious" as there were vulnerable patients - some who "can't move quickly".
Mr Hulme said at that point, about 6am, they were not sure "exactly what happened" but they would be looking into it to make sure "that a) it doesn't happen again and b) that everybody's safe in the environment".
A fire service spokeswoman said at the height of the incident, there were 11 crews at the scene – seven fire engines, three special appliances and one support unit.
Crews started leaving the hospital at about 6.50am and there are no longer any firefighters on the scene.