Major incident at St Andrews swimming pool

Emergency services at the East Sands Leisure Centre, St Andrews
Emergency services at the East Sands Leisure Centre, St Andrews

An emergency evacuation of St Andrews East Sands Leisure Centre has taken place following a leak of sodium hypochlorite at the swimming pool complex.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the presence of the chemical after being called to the pool shortly after 1pm this afternoon.

Thirteen fire appliances attended the scene, two of which were chemical units from Dundee and Methil, with firefighters entering the plant room before conducting a full search of the complex.

All persons in the leisure centre have been accounted for.

The fire service also confirmed 19 people had experienced mild breathing difficulties after inhaling the gas produced by the chemical, which when dissolved with water is like domestic bleach.

According to eyewitnesses people emerged from the complex wrapped in blankets to be treated by ambulance staff.

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust,which operated the centre for Fife Council, said: “At approximately 1pm emergency services were called to East Sands Leisure Centre in St Andrews following a suspected chemical leak. All customers and staff were able to evacuate the building safely without assistance. However, 19 people, including two members of staff, were referred for medical assistance for minor breathing irritation.

“Emergency services and staff are still on site but all customers have left the area. The exact cause of the incident is still being investigated by the emergency services and there is no threat to the surrounding area.

“We will continue to work with emergency services and will keep customers updated as to the status of the centre via our website.”

A statement released by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said: “SFRS is currently attending a chemical incident at East Sands Leisure Centre in St Andrews.

“Scottish Ambulance Service is also in attendance and is treating the leak as a major incident. There are 16 casualties who are suffering from minor breathing irritation.

“SFRS committed three breathing apparatus teams in gas-tight suits to isolate the power in the plant room and search the building – all persons were accounted for.

There are currently thirteen SFRS appliances in attendance including five pumping appliances, a control unit, an emergency support unit and a hazardous materials appliance.”

It is understood some nearby buildings were evacuated after the leak.