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Cause of chemical drama still not known
9:00pm Saturday 30th June 2012 in News
11am Saturday - No hazardous material or cause of illness found. Cordon lifted 7.30pm Friday. Investigations continue. Discussions will now be held with the Health Protection Agency.
They are yet establish the cause of the leak.
The incident response unit from the ambulance service and specialist police and fire service were called to the scene yesterday afternoon.
Firefighters and ambulances were alerted at 12.38pm and went to Essex House in The Crescent in Severalls Business Park.
Several businesses have been evacuated and others have been advised to keep windows closed.
Newcommen Way and The Crescent have been closed.
Transco engineers were also called to the scene but confirmed there was no gas leak.
However, specialist teams are investigating a noxious smell which is believed to be carbon monoxide and a 200 metre exclusion zone has been set up.
An emergency number has been issued for any relatives with concerns for people who have been taken ill in the incident at Colchester this afternoon. They should call 0800 0920410.
An Essex County Council spokesman said: "The safety of our employees is obviously of paramount importance, so emergency measures have been taken, with Essex House employees – including all Customer Service Centre agents – evacuating the building while further investigation takes place. In the meantime there should be minimal disruption to our customers’ 0845 calls, as business continuity procedures are in place.”
An assessment centre set up by paramedics has checked 25 people who did not require further treatment.
Four people have taken themselves directly to Colchester General Hospital with sore throats and sickness.
An investigation of Essex House by fire service has so far failed to find the source of the suspected leak. Gazette reporter Adam Cornell reports more people are being allowed to leave the scene.