Chemical reaction mistaken for fire

Last updated 07:57 20/06/2014

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Three workers required hospital treatment after they were affected by toxic fumes from a chemically reacting drum of ink at a liquid recycling plant.

The Fire Service received a call at 12.30am to Solvent Rescue in Maldon St, Sydenham, where there were reports of smoke coming from the roof of the premises.

En route, firefighters escalated the seriousness of the incident having seen a sizeable smoke cloud over the area, a Fire Service spokesman said.

When they arrived at the liquid recycling plant, firefighters discovered the smoke was not coming from a fire, but instead from drum of ink that was overheating and fuming due to a chemical reaction.

"The printer ink was heating and fuming - the smoke which was seen was actually fumes," said fire services shift manager Andrew Norris.

Three late-shift workers from nearby premises were affected by the toxic fumes and sent to hospital.

Fire services cooled the liquid and handed control of the site back to the property owner when it was stabilised, Norris said.

The site was declared safe at 3.30am.

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