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Chemical leak at Medway services and Sittingbourne industrial estate sparks major emergency response

By Jenni Horn

Two people had to be decontaminated after being exposed to a chemical leak.

The chemical potassium hydroxide leaked from the cargo of a heavy goods vehicle at the Medway motorway services on the M2 and an industrial estate in Sittingbourne, sparking a major emergency response.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Stock image
Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Stock image

Six fire engines, a command support unit, an incident support unit, a detection investigation and monitoring unit, the South East Coast Ambulance Service Hazardous Area Response Team, Kent Police, and the Environment Agency were involved.

Firefighters wearing gas-tight suits with breathing apparatus worked to make the loads safe with advice from the Environment Agency.

The driver of the lorry and another person who has not been identified had to be decontaminated following exposure to the chemical substance and fumes from it. They were treated at the scene by the ambulance hazardous response team paramedics. Both were taken to hospital for observation.

No other injuries were reported. Potassium hydroxide is used in a number of different ways including oil refinery, soap making and paper making.

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