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Sainsbury’s supermarket is evacuated as up to seven shoppers collapse


Sainsbury’s shoppers ‘COLLAPSE’ with mystery breathing difficulties after ‘hazardous substance incident’: Paramedics treat seven people after evacuation of supermarket by shops and college

  • Around 150 shoppers were evacuated from the Sainsbury’s store in Birmingham
  • At least seven shoppers are said to have collapsed with ‘breathing difficulties’
  • The cause of the issue has not yet been identified with police investigating 

A Sainsbury’s supermarket has been evacuated after a ‘hazardous substance incident’ which saw seven shoppers collapse with breathing difficulties and two taken to hospital.

Emergency services were called to the superstore in Longbridge, Birmingham, at around 10am this morning.

Around 150 shoppers were evacuated and people were cleared from other buildings in the area, including a college, while paramedics treated seven people at the scene.

The cause of the issue has not yet been identified and West Midlands Police are currently investigating. 

West Midlands Fire Service’s website classed it as a ‘hazardous substances’ incident while witnesses described a suspected chemical leak involving ‘some sort of gas’.

A 160ft cordon is currently in place around the scene.

Shoppers have been evacuated from Sainsbury's in Longbridge in Birmingham after seven people 'collapsed with breathing difficulties'

Shoppers have been evacuated from Sainsbury’s in Longbridge in Birmingham after seven people ‘collapsed with breathing difficulties’

The cause of the issue has not yet been identified and West Midlands Police say they are currently investigating

The cause of the issue has not yet been identified and West Midlands Police say they are currently investigating

One onlooker said: ‘The police have said there’s been an incident involving some sort of gas. People were on the floor gasping for air after collapsing.

‘I’ve never seen anything like it, there’s emergency services everywhere. Students from City College have been evacuated too and a couple of other shops I think.

‘I heard somebody had let something off in the store but police wouldn’t confirm that to me. They are just telling everyone to leave the area.’

West Midlands Fire Service said: ‘Two people who were in the store have been taken to hospital.

‘Our specialist officers are using air monitoring equipment inside the store to try and establish the cause of the incident.

‘We are working closely with the store management, as well as our ambulance and police colleagues and Birmingham City Council. Around 150 people were evacuated from the store.’

A force spokesperson said: ‘Shortly before 10am on Friday 20 May we were alerted to an incident at the Sainsbury’s supermarket on High Street, Longbridge, Birmingham. A number of people had reported feeling unwell, with apparent breathing difficulties.

‘Two fire engines and one of our 4×4 Brigade Response vehicles responded, from Northfield and Kings Norton fire stations, together with a number of officers and colleagues from the police and ambulance services.

‘The store had been evacuated before we arrived. A 50-metre cordon was put in place around the store. Other premises within the cordon were also evacuated.

‘The six patients are being treated by paramedics at the scene.

‘Anyone who has been in the area and is feeling unwell should seek medical advice as a precaution.’

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We’re currently in attendance at an incident at Sainsburys in Longbridge Lane, Longbridge following a call at 9.53am.

‘A number of ambulances and specialist resources are on scene treating six patients who were feeling unwell with minor respiratory problems.

‘The public are advised to avoid the area whilst emergency services deal with the incident.’

West Midlands Ambulance Service said: ‘We’re currently in attendance at an incident at Sainsbury’s in Longbridge Lane, Longbridge following a call at 9.53am.

‘A number of ambulances and specialist resources are on scene treating seven patients who were feeling unwell with minor respiratory problems.

‘One patient has since been conveyed to hospital as a precaution. The public are advised to avoid the area whilst emergency services deal with the incident.’

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