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A hazardous incident unit clad in personal protection equipment (PPE) was called to a chemical factory in Thetford yesterday after a tank containing highly corrosive sodium hydroxide overheated.

Production at Albion Chemicals in Thetford was brought to a halt on Monday morning after a passer by noticed a burning smell emanating from one of its chemical tanks.

Five fire engines containing a PPE clad chemical incident team were called to the scene to deal with the situation.

A leak releasing sodium hydroxide fumes was discovered in the factory and dealt with by four firefighters wearing gas-proof PPE.

The East Anglian Daily Times quoted Andy Heginbotham, Thetford Station manager, saying: "There was no actual fire but there had been a chemical reaction, which had given off some fumes and we had to be cautious.

"It was a corrosive chemical leak and it could have been serious. However, I am confident the factory had followed the right safety procedures and there was no risk to public safety."

Albion management has since said they would review safety procedures following the incident.

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