PATIENTS and staff were evacuated after an ammonia leak at Sunderland Royal Hospital, it has been revealed.
Around 40 people – including 27 elderly patients – were led to safety from the building after the ammonia was released at around 4.50am.
Firefighters were scrambled after around 10ml of ammonia leaked from a fridge in a drugs room on a sixth-floor ward.
The fire crew sealed the room and donned gas-tight suits to keep them safe while disconnecting the fridge.
The leaking appliance was then placed in a protective drum and removed from the hospital.
Firefighters spent around 40 minutes clearing ammonia gas from the ward before the patients were led back in.
Both the drum and the fire crews were decontaminated at the scene.
A spokesman for the hospital said: “Twenty seven patients were evacuated from an elderly care ward as a precaution after an ammonia leak from a fridge at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
“The fire brigade were called and removed the fridge – no patients were hurt and thanks to the professional and speedy response of staff, emergency procedures enabled rapid handling of the incident. Patients were transferred to other departments and the ward concerned will return to use after deep cleaning.”