A LEISURE centre has been evacuated after a chemical incident in Witham.

Fire crews were called to Witham Leisure Centre in Spinks Lane at around 11.24am this morning.

It has been reported that two chemicals have been mixed together in a dosing machine by error.

This has led to the building being evacuated.

One crew from Witham, two crews from Chelmsford, one crew from Maldon and two crews from Braintree are attending the incident.

The ambulance service is also on scene.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "Police were contacted at around 11.25am today, Saturday, March 18, by the fire service about an incident they are dealing with at a leisure centre in Spinks Lane, Witham.

"Officers are liaising with the fire service and will provide support if required."

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a number of emergency services outside the leisure centre, which is owned by Braintree District Council. 

Two ambulances, a hazardous area response team, two ambulance officers and two rapid response teams attended the scene. 

Updated 3pm:

ADO Mark Huggins, from Essex Fire Service, said: "We were called to Witham Leisure Centre by staff, who were mixing chemicals to make chlorine, mistakenly mixed the wrong chemicals together, which created a small gas cloud. 

"Our crews sectioned the incident into two parts. One section focused on ventilating the main reception area.

"The second section was based in the plant room where the mixing had taken place. We diluted the chemical by flushing the pipe with water and then ventilated the area. 

"Our crews worked quickly to make the scene safe by 1.30pm and handed it back to the manager to run their own safety checks.

Eight people have been treated by the Ambulance Service."

Update 8pm: 

In a statement Fusion Lifestyle said: "Following a plant room incident this morning, Witham Leisure Centre was evacuated as part of our safety procedure.

"A full investigation is now underway.

"There were no members of the public in the pool at the time of the incident and whilst the pool has remained closed, the rest of the centre’s facilities reopened shortly afterwards.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and invite swimmers to use the facilities our neighbouring Fusion centre in Halstead.

"We are working to get the pool open again as soon as we can and will communicate any updates on our twitter account."