Chemical spill at UK hospital’s maternity ward sparks mass evacuation

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    A UK hospital has been evacuated after a chemical spill took place.

    Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed it was called to reports of a cleaning chemical spill in Watford General Hospital's maternity unit at 10.38am this morning (January 26).

    Hertfordshire County Council also confirmed the incident, which prompted a mass evacuation of the immediate area surrounding the spill.

    A spokesperson for the council told the Daily Star: "The fire and rescue department was called at 10:38 responding to a potential chemical spill.

    "It turned out that a cleaner had mixed chemicals together, resulting in a gas cloud.

    "We evacuated the third floor of the hospital and fire fighters are still on the scene, where they are expected to remain until the end of the day"

    Police and three fire engines reportedly from Garston, Hemel Hempstead, were spotted outside the hospital around 11am following the incident for clean-up and potential decontamination after the chemical fumes "caused some problems for staff", according to the Watford Observer.

    Ambulances could also be seen alongside the other emergency service vehicles.

    The council spokesperson couldn't confirm how many people had been evacuated, but said eight people were receiving medical treatment after experiencing "breathing difficulties" as a result of the gas cloud.

    It is unclear whether these were patients or staff members at the hospital.

    The third floor of the hospital will likely remain out of bounds for the rest of the day while firefighters work to contain and clean up the spill.

    Hertfordshire Constabulary also confirmed it had sent officers to the scene but that the response is being led by the local fire service.

    Videos of the event circulated on social media, showing people fleeing the hospital and fire trucks and other emergency vehicles blocking off a nearby road.

    "Chemical crisis in the Maternity ward at Watford General Hospital happening now, building has just been evacuated," the video, posted to Twitter at 11:13am this morning, was captioned.

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