TWENTY-NINE people are in hospital and nearby residents have been asked to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed. This is the result of a leak of chlorine gas at the Olympic Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.
The gas leak occurred this morning, 23rd March, and led to some 200 people being evacuated from the Centre. Paramedics treated around 50 people at the site for breathing difficulties, while ambulances ferried others to hospitals including the Royal London Hospital, Newham Hospital and Homerton Hospital.
A major incident was declared, with police, fire and ambulances attending in great number. Roads were closed and the Olympic Park was closed to the public. Thousands of residents were affected by the instruction to stay indoors, as the Park is in a densely populated area. Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which operates the Aquatic Centre and several other sports and leisure venues across East London, said that the leak occurred as pool chemicals were being delivered to the plant room, which they said is operated by a separate company.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) described the leak as involving “a high quantity of chlorine gas” and reported that they would be using “positive pressure ventilation fans” to disperse the gas into the atmosphere.
LFB Commander Shaun Coltress reassured residents that the situation was under control, saying “…we’ve got our scientific adviser and our hazardous materials adviser on scene. […] We’ve got the right people here, we’re used to responding to chemical incidents, we’ve taken the right advice, we’ve got the right cordons in place.”
It is not known when the Aquatics Centre will re-open to the public.
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