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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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18 injured in toxic gas leak in Co Down

The Fire and Rescue Service said a toxic substance became unstable on board a vessel at the harbour. A 50 meter cordon has been put in place in the area.

The MV Arklow Meadow, which remains cordoned off at Warrenpoint harbour in Co Down
The MV Arklow Meadow, which remains cordoned off at Warrenpoint harbour in Co Down
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

POLICE AND EMERGENCY services in Northern Ireland are currently dealing with a toxic gas leak at Warrenpoint Harbour in Co Down.

At this stage 18 people have been injured by the effects of the gas. Nine casualties have been taken to Daisy Hill Hospital and a further nine were treated at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said they were currently dealing with “a hazardous incident at Warrenpoint Harbour involving a toxic substance which has become unstable on board a vessel at the harbour”.

RTE reported that the ship was carrying aluminium phosphide, a pesticide used to kill rodents.

The call about the leak was received this morning at 9.42am and the NIFRS said the incident is ongoing with eight Appliances, three Special Appliances and a Command Support Unit at the scene.

A 50 meter cordon has been put in place in the area and a number of homes have been evacuated from Newry Street to the Square. The ship is being held within this cordon. The Town Hall has been made available for those evacuated.

Police are advising nearby residents to close all windows and doors. Due to the north east wind blowing at present residents in Omeath and Carlingford in Co Louth are also being advised to close all windows and doors.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has advised that all risk of adverse health effects associated with this incident applies only to those who have come into direct contact with the gas.

The emergency services are currently identifying and treating all such individuals, the NIFRS spokesperson said.

“The PHA is emphasising that there is no risk to the wider public, but asks that people in the general area cooperate with the authorities to ensure that this incident is handled safely and effectively.”

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