Six postal work­ers taken ill in Tar­bert

A ma­jor emer­gency re­sponse was trig­gered – but what caused the work­ers to fall ill?

Argyllshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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