Four in hospital after drug factory blast

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The Independent Online

Four men were taken to hospital today after a chemical explosion at a pharmaceuticals factory.

The blast happened at the GlaxoSmithKline plant in Irvine, North Ayrshire, shortly before 7am.

Two workers, aged 51 and 45, suffered burns in the incident and two other men were suffering from shock. All four were taken to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock for treatment.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blast, police said.

The explosion took place at the company's Shewalton Road manufacturing plant. One side of the factory building is thought have been blown off in the blast.

About 20 people were working in the building when it happened.

The explosion took place in the plant's Actives facility, where raw chemicals used in the production of malaria and HIV drugs are treated.

A spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline said the facility had been closed down as a result of the blast.

She added: "We can confirm that there has been a small explosion in our Actives facility. Four personnel were injured - two suffered burns and two are being treated for shock.

"All four have been taken to hospital and their families have been notified."

Pharmaceuticals are produced at another facility on the same site, which was not affected by the blast.

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: "The emergency services are at the site and there will be a full investigation into the cause of the explosion."

It is understood there are no residential properties nearby and no evacuations have been made.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said two of the victims had serious burns.

Roads around the GlaxoSmithKline site were closed off as the emergency services attempted to piece together the circumstances surrounding today's explosion.

A large police cordon could be seen on the road leading up to one of the site's several entrances, and there was a large police presence at the site's main gates on Shewalton Road.

A large number of workers could be seen around the main gates and it is understood some contractors who had been working at the site were taking refuge in the company's social club.

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