Silverburn evacuation: Scenes of 'pandemonium' in Glasgow shopping centre over 'chemical smell'

Around 50 people treated by paramedics after mystery substance causes coughing fits

Tom Barnes
Wednesday 22 August 2018 20:04 BST
Hundreds of people were evacuated from Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow after reports of a 'chemical smell'
Hundreds of people were evacuated from Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow after reports of a 'chemical smell' (PA)

Customers were caught up in “pandemonium” as hundreds of people were evacuated from a Scottish shopping centre due to a “chemical smell” in the air.

Emergency services were called to Silverburn shopping centre on the outskirts of Glasgow after reports several visitors had fallen ill.

Linsey Hanna, one of the shoppers told to leave the centre during the incident, described the situation as “chaotic”.

The 22-year-old from Glasgow added: “Alarms went off for the entire shopping centre. There were quite a lot of workers getting treated outside by paramedics, police then started asking if we had any coughing problems. We heard one worker say they had known something wasn't right. There were hundreds of people, it was actually crazy - every single person was evacuated.

“Outside, it was just chaotic - it was absolute pandemonium.”

Police said around 50 people were given medical treatment outside the centre as a precaution.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) sent a specialist environmental protection unit to the scene along with a number of fire engines.

Several witnesses later reported on Twitter that a number of shoppers had broken into spontaneous fits of coughing as the evacuation was taking place.

Silverburn said that the centre had been fully reopened by early evening, but did not elaborate on what had caused the incident.

“Extensive tests have been carried out and we have been given the all-clear by emergency services to re-open the centre,” it said in a statement. "We'd like to thank the emergency services for their swift response and our customers for their patience and understanding during the closure.”

A number of road closures were also put in place for at least an hour and a half due to the incident.

Glasgow City Council announced the restrictions had been lifted shortly before the centre reopened.

An SFRS spokesman added: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to reports of a chemical smell at Silverburn shopping centre, near Glasgow. Operations control mobilised a number of fire engines and a specialist environmental protection unit. Crews ensured the area was safe and have now left the scene.”

Additional reporting by PA

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