NEARLY 50 firefighters and steelworkers were taken to hospital amid fears that they had breathed in noxious fumes during a blaze at Sheffield Forgemasters.
Around 65 fire officers – just under one-tenth of the entire South Yorkshire force – were involved in battling a blaze in the Brightside Lane plant’s main foundry hall on Monday at 10.15am.
Some 34 firefighters and 15 steelworkers were given precautionary checks at either the Northern General or Rotherham General Hospital, with some complaining of respiratory problems.
A cordon had been set up around the building and firefighters were preparing to enter the site when a noxious gas cloud suddenly emerged.
Deputy chief fire officer Jamie Courtney said the main concern was for officers not wearing breathing apparatus.
The cloud dispersed, the chemicals burned away and the area made safe soon after the incident, he added.
Mike Shanahan, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “A significant number of ambulance resources were deployed to the incident including our hazardous area response team.
“None of the patients were considered to be in a life-threatening or serious condition.”
Roger Richardson, director of the foundry at Forgemasters, said: “The safety measures in place meant the foundry was evacuated as a precaution and there were no casualties nor any significant damage.”
The cause of the fire is being investigated.