Page last updated at 19:34 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 20:34 UK

'Acid' spillage hits jam factory

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Some staff were treated in hospital

Fifty one people needed treatment after breathing in toxic gas from a chemical spillage at a jam factory in Essex.

Crews were called to Wilkin and Sons, in Tiptree, in the early afternoon after reports of an acid spill, Essex Fire and Rescue Service said.

A spokesman added: "Twelve people were taken to Colchester General Hospital and 39 were treated by ambulance crews at the scene."

All 163 staff were evacuated from the factory following the spill.

Trained staff at the factory immediately neutralised the spillage and firefighters were called in by the ambulance service to assist in dealing with the chemical spillage.

"Four firefighters entered the building in gas-tight chemical suits to ensure the area was safe and they ventilated it," the fire service spokesman added.

"Sodium hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid mixed together and that created chlorine gas."

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