Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 16:12 UK

Chemical reaction sparks alert

Scene of gas leak
An exclusion zone was set up around the site

Firefighters wearing special protective clothing have dealt with a chemical reaction involving hazardous materials in the docks area of Belfast.

A 100-metre exclusion zone was set up around Albion Chemicals in the Duncrue Industrial Estate.

There were no reports of injuries following the incident, which happened at about 1100 BST on Friday.

People living nearby were advised to keep their windows closed and motorists were asked to avoid the area.

Earlier on Friday, a spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said problems arose when a chemical container was being cleaned out at the chemical distributions firm.

"It created a plume, a brown hazy cloud which firefighters are spraying water on to disperse," said.

A spokesman for the Environment and Heritage Service said first reports indicated nitric acid being poured into a contaminated industrial bulk container caused a chemical reaction.

water being used to disperse gas
Water is being used to disperse the cloud

"Drainage systems at the site have been blocked thus preventing any liquid material entering the port waters, and initial indications are that this is proving successful," he said.

"The fire service has deployed a water mist screen to try to prevent nitrous oxide gas escaping from the site, and this liquid material is also being contained."


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