‘Hazardous material’ alert sparked by office carpet cleaning operation

Sovereign Housing Association
Fire, police and ambulance teams were sent to the Sovereign Housing Association building in Grange Road in Somerford

EMERGENCY services were scrambled to a “hazardous materials” alert as 11 people required treatment after suffering breathing difficulties from a carpet cleaning operation.


Fire, police and ambulance services responded to a call just before 9.30am today (Monday) at a Sovereign Housing Association (SHA) office building in Grange Road in Somerford, Christchurch.

Members of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service were among the first on the scene where a number of people were feeling ill.

Two crews from Christchurch fire station were dispatched to investigate the problem and ended up ventilating a property.

The 11 casualties were left in the care of the ambulance service.

A spokeswoman for South Western Ambulance Service said a number of people were “sick and dizzy” and it sent a “number of resources to the scene”.

He added: “Four ambulances and a senior paramedic treated 11 patients with minor injuries. Nobody was taken to hospital.”

Dorset Police also attended, a spokesman for the force confirmed.

SHA head of customer contact Paula Dawson said: “Unfortunately some of our contact team were affected by fumes following a carpet clean over the weekend.

“The symptoms were minor – for example, some dizziness and sore eyes.

“But everyone has been seen by paramedics as a precaution and they’ve been released home for the day.

“It only affected a small part of the building, which we’ve closed for the rest of the day.

“But we expect the office to be open and services return to normal tomorrow morning.”