Harrogate Hospital evacuated

Fire crews at Harrogate Hospital
Fire crews at Harrogate Hospital

Patients and Visitors were evacuated from Harrogate District Hospital this morning after a chemical spill.

Around 100 people were forced to leave the hospital after a member of staff reported fumes from a container of cleaning agent.

Director of communications at Harrogate Hospital Chris Watt said: “We are getting people back in now and services are running as normal.

“Only outpatients were evacuated with staff, no inpatients were affected. No appointments have been cancelled but there might be some delays.”

Four fire engines attended the incident and two fire fighters wearing gas tight suits removed the chemical drum containing peracetic acid from the building.

Harrogate Fire Station manager Lee Smith said the acid, which is used to clean equipment used in invasive procedures, can cause severe respiratory problems and even respiratory failure.

He said: “We got the call at around 8:50am and mobilised crews from Harrogate and Knaresborough and a decontamination team from Ripon.

“With it being at the hospital there was concerns about where to evacuate people if more patients needed to be evacuated.

“It was very important to get the building free from the chemical and get it back open.

“Even a minor incident can cause big disruption at a place like this.”

Phillip Marshal, Director of Human Resources said the hospital will now be reviewing the chemical and the container will be sent for testing.

He added:“The number one concern was the staff and patient safety and the response to the emergency procedure was great.

Patient Jill Farmer had an outpatient appointment booked for 9.30am and had been waiting outside the hospital for an hour.

She said: “I’ve been waiting out in the cold and it’s freezing but I would much rather they did this than take any risks.”

Harrogate District Hospital is accepting patients as normal.