WORKERS were evacuated after a chemical spill on an industrial estate released at least 100 litres of dangerous acid.
The leak was caused by a fork lift truck puncturing a plastic container containing hydrochloric acid outside Lofting Banstead & Lustre Finishers at Gunstore Road, in Hilsea.
Limberline Road was cordoned off by firefighters at its junction with Limberline Spur after about 100 of the spilled liquid – which can be highly corrosive and cause serious burns – poured onto the ground shortly before 12.30pm.
Some staff were evacuated from the building after the accident happened shortly before 12.30pm – but they were back at work by 1.15pm. No-one was hurt.
Traffic was diverted from the scene but surrounding businesses were otherwise unaffected.
Police and firefighters were called out and fire crews from Southsea, Cosham, Waterlooville and Havant attended the scene along with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Incident Support Unit and two specialist hazards officers – one from Hampshire Constabulary and one from the fire service.
Incident commander Nick Davies from Southsea station described the accident as ‘unfortunate.’
He said: ‘We committed a crew of two firefighters in gas tight suits and they have plugged the leak.’
Firefighters then worked to transfer the liquid to another container and diluted the remaining acid on the floor with water. It then entered the drains under close watch of Southern Water and the Environment Agency. The acid was to travel to the water processing plant at Eastney..
Mr Davies added: ‘[The acid] will never enter the water supply.
‘It is enclosed, there is no risk. It is safe by the time it leaves the factory. The water company are very comfortable with it.’
Carl Tomlinson, LBL Finishers operations director, said: ‘There was an incident which has caused the container to be punctured.
‘Upon that incident happening we notified the emergency services immediately so they could deal with it. There will be an internal investigation to understand what happened.’
Gary Bonsor, project manager for Hadley Shopfitters at Limberline Spur, said: ‘I saw a fire engine park up and the road closed off at about 1pm. There have never been any incidents before.’