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A Sainsbury's store in the West Midlands has been evacuated after customers started to experience breathing issues while shopping.
Members of the public began collapsing due to struggles breathing in the store, located in Longbridge, prompting a huge emergency response from authorities in the area.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service issued a statement to say people had been treated at the scene for 'respiratory symptoms' following reports about their breathing issues this morning (20 May).
A video showing the current scene at Sainsbury in Longbridge.— B NEWS & VIEWS (@BNEWSandVIEWS) May 20, 2022
A mass emergency turnout to evacuate the building with 6 people currently reported to be suffering breathing problems.#birmingham #longbridge #emergency #evacuation pic.twitter.com/NX0s3JbOvv
A spokesperson from West Midlands Police told Birmingham Live: "We are currently dealing with an incident at Sainsbury's in Longbridge Lane, Longbridge.
"We were alerted at about 10am to reports that six people were suffering breathing problems.
"Officers attended and the store has been evacuated and people are also being cleared from other buildings in the area. The six patients are being treated by paramedics at the scene.
"We have specialist officers working with colleagues across the emergency services to establish exactly what has happened. A cordon has been put in place and we'd advise people to stay away from the area."
An update from the ambulance service has since confirmed seven people are being treated.
The West Midlands Fire Service also responded to the scene with two fire engines and one of its 4x4 Brigade Response vehicles from Northfield and Kings Norton Fire Station. The firefighters were on the scene within three minutes of being mobilised, along with 'a number of officers and colleagues from the police and ambulance services'.
Major emergency services response at Sainsbury's in Longbridge. Not just a fire drill but evacuation of the buildings adjacent to this building went ahead. Not sure what happened specifically #longbridge #evacuation #sainsburys pic.twitter.com/R50lxiuAvR— Stephen Bridgwater (@stebridgwater35) May 20, 2022
A statement from the service said the store had already been evacuated prior to their arrival, adding: "A 50-metre cordon was put in place around the store. Other premises within the cordon were also evacuated."
The cordoned area includes a Premier Inn hotel, shops and roads. Students from South and City College are also said to have been told to leave their building.
Longbridge Shopping sought to alert customers to the issue in a post on Facebook, writing: "To make customers aware the main high street off Longbridge Lane is closed. Entry and exit to Longbridge is via Dalmuir road."
Eyewitnesses at the scene claimed there had been an 'escape of gas', telling Birmingham Live: "There's police everywhere, you cannot get through. It's all closed off so it seems quite serious."
Another member of the public told the publication customers were 'on the floor gasping for breath'.
The West Midlands Fire Service categorised the incident as 'Hazardous Substances' and described the situation as 'ongoing'.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy/B NEWS AND VIEWS/Twitter
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