Environmental health investigation at Primark after fumes triggered evacuation

An environmental health investigation has been launched at the Ilford branch of Primark this afternoon after fumes made people feel faint.

Ambulance crews treated 11 people for dizziness and fainting after the mysterious fumes spread through the shop in High Road, Ilford.

London Ambulance Service sent its hazardous area response at about 11.30am today and police were called to help with the evacuation soon after.

Inspector Paul Eva said contractors had been doing some painting on the ceiling of the new shop, which opened last month.

“Paint fumes have come through the building. They made 11 people unwell. There were a lot of people to get out, the shop was busy,” he said.

He added that both staff members and shoppers were affected.

Redbridge Council senior environmental officer, John Eva said: “We understand there has been some work going on on the roof and the air conditioning sucked in the fumes.

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“We have launched an investigation.”

Shoppers formed a large and curious crowd outside the shop during and after the evacuation while traffic was disrupted by emergency vehicles.

Two patients were taken to King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes while the other two were taken to Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone.

Mr Eva said fumes being sucked into a building through air conditioning ducts were not common.

“We do have this in shops and warehouses from time to time, if it’s white spirit it’s to do with the concentrate, some people are very sensitive to it.

We’ve had it in council blocks of flats, they paint the water tanks on the inside to stop them rusting and if it doesn’t cure quick enough it can send a smell through the building. Some people are OK with it but others are not.”

Primark Ilford’s manager was also at the scene but declined to comment.

The Recorder is waiting for further information from the fashion chain’s central press office.

Were you in the town centre at the time? Email us at newsdesk@ilfordrecorder.co.uk, or call 020 8477 3800.