Clutha council office evacuated

Staff have been evacuated from the Clutha District Council building amid fears of a gas leak.

Fire service staff from Balclutha were called to the scene to investigate the suspected leak.

Balclutha Chief Fire Officer Graeme Ferguson said council staff smelt a sulphur-like odour and called emergency services at 11.30am.

Two fire appliances attended the scene with about 11 personnel.

A battery was found to be the source of the smell.

"Everything is sealed inside [the battery] and it has split under pressure, which evidently they are inclined to do,'' Mr Ferguson said.

Once the building was evacuated it was discovered some staff felt unwell, Mr Ferguson said.

Two ambulances  attended the scene and six people were taken to Clutha Hispital for further assessment.

All had minor symptoms, a St John Ambulance spokesman said.

The council offices were closed for the day as a precaution and staff were sent home.

Communications were down for the afternoon but the office was expected to open again tomorrow.

- by Samuel White 

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