Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 14:18 UK

Fumes alert keeps Bullring closed

Police and fire engines
Emergency services have been monitoring the centre's air systems

Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre remains closed for a second day after a chemical scare that led to more than 30 people needing medical treatment.

The centre will remain closed for the rest of the day.

It reopened on Friday morning but was evacuated after some staff felt unwell. Symptoms included minor respiratory problems, the ambulance service said.

Police said any contamination remained "unexplained" and it was not known if was from an accident or malicious act.

West Midlands Police said the cause was still being investigated but it was a suspected petro-chemical-based contamination, possibly in the centre's ventilation or air conditioning systems.

Anthony Mills

After "exhaustive checks" the fire service was satisfied it was an internal problem and appeared to be confined to the building, a spokesman said.

The Bullring's management team was trying to locate the problem.

The centre was opened for access before the latest evacuation but the shops had not reopened.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service said two members of staff at the centre were suffering shortness of breath on Friday and were given oxygen before being taken to hospital for further assessment.

"A further eight members of staff were suffering from nausea and minor respiratory complaints," a spokeswoman added. All eight were treated at the scene.

Six security workers were treated for the effects of fumes shortly before 0400 BST on Thursday. Later, more staff complained of symptoms such as dizziness and nausea, and the centre was closed.

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said although the Bullring was closed all other shops, including the nearby markets, were open.



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