NINE people were hospitalised and students from a Blayney primary school were forced to evacuate their classrooms around lunchtime on Thursday following a chemical spill at a nearby business.
St Joseph’s Catholic School students sought cover at the CentrePoint Sport and Leisure facility after they were told by police to move out.
The school was within a 500-metre exclusion zone emergency services set up around Environmental Treatment Solutions (ETS) in Marshalls Lane when staff complained of fumes inside the building.
Three Fire and Rescue NSW crews arrived at the scene around 11.46am to find a chemical spill measuring around 25 metres.
Firefighters - including specialists in hazardous materials - wore protective suits to neutralise the spill with other chemicals.
Firefighters were joined by paramedics and police officers from Blayney, Rockley and Bathurst.
Four patients were treated by paramedics at the site and transported to Orange hospital in a stable condition.
A short time later, an additional eight people were treated at the scene and five of them were taken to Bathurst hospital also in a stable condition.
WorkCover NSW were on Thursday conducting inquiries and the state’s Environment Protection Authority were investigating the incident.
Fairfax Media made several attempts to contact ETS on Thursday, however no one was available for comment
O’Brien Wash and Go manager Mary O’Brien said she was asked to evacuated her Radburn Street car wash at around noon.
Mrs O’Brien said it was lucky her two customers had just finished washing their vehicles when Blayney Shire Council staff asked them to leave the area.
“People said they could smell it and it smelt like rotten eggs, but I couldn’t smell anything,” Mrs O’Brien said.
Mrs O’Brien said she was not given any formal notification about why the evacuation occurred or how long she would be unable to access her business.
“I wasn’t worried, I know it won’t be forever,” she said.
While the incident disrupted their school day, St Joseph’s students appeared unfazed by the commotion.
Students waved to passing police cars as they were led out of school and placed on to buses.
Surrounding businesses in the predominantly industrial area were also evacuated.
It is the second time ETS has forced the evacuation of the industrial area in the past 12 months.
Last August, workers were evacuated when fire ripped through the waste disposal facility.