Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service confirmed crews from Launceston, Liskeard, Callington, St Austell and Saltash attended the spill, together with Devon & Cornwall Police, Westcountry Ambulance personnel and the Environment Agency.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement: “It has now been confirmed that there were twelve casualties originally reported, of these four were confirmed and treated by Westcountry Ambulance personnel, three were decontaminated on site and discharged, one casualty has been taken to hospital.”
The incident led to staff at Kensey Foods’ factory at the Pennygillam Industrial Estate, where Samworth Brothers has its own-label chilled desserts and quiche plant, being temporarily cordoned off and staff being evacuated.
‘Agency provided technical advice’
A spokesman for the Environment Agency told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The agency provided the Fire Service with technical advice on the chemicals involved in the spill and how best to contain any pollution and dispose of any contaminated liquids in drainage systems.
Advice was also given on the decontamination of equipment, he said. “The substance was paracetic acid that reacted with another alkali stored nearby and produced a cloud of chlorine gas.
“At one point there were five fire appliances and more than 50 firemen on site. Roads leading to the Pennygillam Industrial Estate were closed and a 50m cordon set up.
‘Cloud of chlorine gas’
“Pollution was minimal. The spillage was contained on site and re-circulated within the on-site treatment system. The cloud of chlorine gas soon dispersed and it is not thought there were any major air quality issues.”
The fire brigade confirmed it left the site at 1pm, having made the area safe.
In a statement, Samworth Brothers confirmed: “By yesterday evening [August 28] the site was back running as normal with a full complement of staff.
“The incident took place near to the effluent plant. As this plant is some distance from our bakery the majority of our orders went out as normal yesterday. The problem has been rectified and our total focus now is on the investigation as to what happened.”