Fridge to blame for hospital scare


A massive chemical scare in Scotland’s biggest hospital turned out to be the work of a faulty fridge.

Firefighters rushed to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness yesterday morning after staff reported an ammonia smell in a first floor preparation room.

Andrew Ward, duty manager for Raigmore Hospital, said their health and safety staff advised them to contact the emergency services after the worrying scent was detected.

Photo: Richard Dorrell
Patients had to be evacuated from the hospital (Photo: Richard Dorrell)


“The chemical which people could smell was ammonia and early indication was that it was coming from a leak in the fridge in the prep room,” he said.

“Fire services staff with appropriate breathing equipment dealt with the situation.”

Part of the hospital was evacuated and three appliances attended the scene. They were joined by a specialist environmental unit carrying the crew’s chemical protection kit.

Incident commander Tony McDowell confirmed four firefighters wearing the protection suits had entered the hospital to investigate.

He said, “Crews were briefed by staff about the potential hazards within the room. They reported a smell of ammonia.

“After following our operational procedures it appeared that the only risk in the room was the two fridges.”

The fridges were taken away by the crew and will be examined by specialist contractor. The suits were decontaminated as a precaution only and no patients were harmed.

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