Three collapse in suspected Sainsbury’s gas leak
A supermarket was evacuated yesterday afternoon after three people collapsed due to a suspected gas leak.
Customers were asked to leave the Sainsbury’s store in Christchurch, Dorset, at around 3.30pm after two checkout staff and a member of the public collapsed.
The outbreak of unknown noxious fumes at the shop is believed to be connected to contractors who were working at the premises at the time.
The store was busy with dozens of customers who witnessed one of the female members of staff keel over.
Three casualties were given oxygen therapy by ambulance paramedics at the scene but did not need to go to hospital.
Fire crews wearing protective suits and carrying gas monitors ventilated the premises.
An investigation is now underway to establish the cause of the outbreak.
Shopper Harriet Jameson, from Christchurch, said: ‘Two members of staff collapsed within five minutes of each other at the checkouts from what I know.
‘I was queuing at the checkout after having had a look around for any late Christmas deals and then, all of a sudden, over the tannoy they asked everyone to leave immediately.
‘It was calm and well organised, but I did feel a little bit anxious. There was already an ambulance there dealing with the staff who were not well.’
Another eye-witness commented: ‘The check-out girl collapsed in front of my husband.’
A spokesman for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘Crews were requested by South West Ambulance Service to attend.
‘A contractor was working on site at the time of the reported casualties and it is believed this may be related to a gas leak.
‘After taking advice from National Chemical Emergency Centre, crews entered the store wearing personal protective equipment and ventilated the premises.’
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: ‘We’re grateful no customers or colleagues were seriously harmed and are supporting the fire brigade’s investigation.’