Chemical spill 'an accident' FUMES: Leak which shut Bullring not treated as suspicious.Byline: Jane Tyler
A CHEMICAL leak which forced the closure of Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre and led to more than 30 people being treated by paramedics was probably an accident, police said today.
At first it was feared that Thursday's leak was malicious with an individual or a group deliberately filling the mall with the dangerous chemical.
But now police believe it was due to fumes from a cleaning product and is not being treated as suspicious.
Ambulance crews were called to the centre at 4.30am yesterday when security guards were overwhelmed by fumes coming through the ventilation system ventilation system Public health An air system designed to maintain negative pressure and exhaust air properly, to minimize the spread of TB and other respiratory pathogens in a health care facility .
They were taken to Heartlands Hospital and treated for minor sickness..
Bosses decided to open the Bullring at 8.50am, but had to close it again 40 minutes later after staff working in the basement reported feeling ill.
The centre remained closed for the entire day while firefighters, police and other agencies investigated.
In total around 250 workers were seen in a specially set up area by West Midlands Ambulance Service The West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the authority responsible for providing NHS ambulance services in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Warwickshire, West Midlands, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands region. with 33 needing treatment..
A spokesman for the Community Safety Bureau at Steelhouse Lane police said: "The Bullring remained closed in order that the fire service could fumigate fu·mi·gate
To subject to smoke or fumes, usually in order to exterminate pests or disinfect.
fu the operations centre.
"The incident is not being treated as suspicious and appears to be due to fumes from a cleaning product." The Bullring remained closed today, and bosses said its closure would have cost businesses tens of thousands of pounds.
John Lamb, spokesman for Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is devastating for the city centre, we have fantastic retail sector here.
"This is a very serious thing to happen whatever the cause. It is really disappointing especially at this time.
"I know the Bullring footfall has been holding despite the economic problems and I really hope this does not have a knock-on effect on that."
Emergency services emergency services Emergency care '…services …necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health and, because of the danger to life or health, require the use of the most accessible hospital available and equipped to furnish those services' at the Bullring.