Breaking news 3.15pm - St George's College evacuated after chemical incident

EMERGENCY services swung into action when a major chemical incident was reported at 12.20pm. today (Wednesday) 12 March at St George's College of Technology, Sleaford.

The incident occurred when a contractor was testing a fume cupboard in the science block and the canister of sulphur dioxide he was using escaped into one of the classrooms.

There were about 40 pupils and staff in the area at the time, none of which have suffered any major injuries. Some have experienced minor breathing problems, and were initially treated at the school by the Ambulance Service, who set up a Treatment Centre.

Sulphur dioxide can cause a tightness of the chest and wheezing similar to asthma. Around 85 people were treated, including 50 who went to hospital for check ups as a precaution. One child is likely to be kept in overnight for observations.

The children affected were Year 10 pupils. Police and staff have compiled lists of the children affected and where they have been taken to to inform concerned parents waiting at the school gates.

The college was initially evacuated but no-one else was allowed on or off the site until checks had been made.

Fire and Rescue Service were in the process of dealing with the chemical in the classroom and Health and Safety Executive officers were diverted from a meeting in the town to investigate the incident.

Local traffic was affected as the West Gate has had to be closed off to make way for emergency vehicles and diversions were put in place.