Six postal workers taken ill in Tarbert
A major emergency response was triggered – but what caused the workers to fall ill?
THERE were reports of noxious fumes in Tarbert sorting office early on Tuesday morning as one staff member fainted and five others felt dizzy around the time of a mail delivery.
Amid fears that an unknown substance may have leaked from an item of mail, the emergency services were called and the building evacuated.
After being alerted around 9.20am, Police Scotland set up roadblocks around the Royal Mail office and fire crews from Lochgilphead, Campbeltown and Bishopbriggs joined the Tarbert unit in response to the incident.
Scottish Ambulance Service paramedics attended, as fire and rescue decontamination and scientific assessment units were also despatched from the central belt to the Argyll fishing village.
The emergency department in Mid Argyll Hospital in Lochgilphead was put on standby as teams on site carried out tests.
After reporting initial breathing difficulties, the six casualties are understood to have recovered later that day after medical treatment.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: ‘Unfortunately, Royal Mail staff were affected by an incident at Tarbert sorting office on Tuesday morning.
‘This led to the office being evacuated after some staff members felt dizzy and one fainted.’
In the end, no obvious source was found for the suspected contamination.
‘Specialist resources attended and after technical analysis it was decided that there was no contamination,’ explained police sergeant Iain MacNicol from Lochgilphead.
He added: ‘This was a tried and tested multiagency response for suspicious circumstances such as these.’
Royal Mail pointed the finger at Tarbert’s drainage system, and the company spokeswoman said: ‘It is understood the incident is linked to something in the drains and not any item of mail. Scottish Water and SEPA are investigating.’
But this view was not shared by Scottish Water, which said in a statement: ‘Scottish Water was made aware of this issue on Tuesday and we carried out checks on our system in the area.
‘There was nothing unusual found following these checks and we do not regard this as a Scottish Water issue.’
06_a34Tarbresponse01 Tarbert sorting office was isolated by police roadblocks while investigations went on.