Cornwall beach cordoned off as firefighters in hazmat suits handle dangerous acid on shore

Firefighters in hazmat suits on Cornwall beach
Firefighters had to wear hazmat suits to handle and deal with acid which had washed up on Crinnish Beach. Credit: St Austell Coastguard

Firefighters in hazmat suits were rushed to a Cornwall beach after a container of hazardous acid washed up on shore.

Crinnish Beach in Carlyon Bay was cordoned off on Sunday 14 February following reports from HM Coastguard about a drum of phosphoric acid on the beach.

The acid is used to make soda and fertilisers but is particularly harmful if comes into contact with eyes or skin, or if it is inhaled.

Firefighters from St Austell Community Fire Station disinfecting their suits after having dealt with hazardous phosphoric acid Credit: St Austell Community Fire Station

A spokesperson for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: "An appliance from St Austell and a flexi-duty officer were mobilised following a report from HM Coastguard of a drum of phosphoric acid that had washed up on the beach.

"Fire Service resources liaised with HM Coastguard and beach security to formulate a plan. Cordons were put in place and an overdrum was requested to be brought to the scene from St Austell Community Fire Station.

"Following specialist advice from a Hazardous Material Environmental Protection Advisor, firefighters donned breathing apparatus and gas tight suits to safely approach the hazardous drum. The drum was inspected and eventually recovered into the overdrum.

"A specialist contractor has been contacted to remove and dispose of the hazardous substance."

A member of St Austell Coastguard watches from a safe distance as firefighters approach hazardous acid on the beach Credit: St Austell Coastguard

The St Austell Coastguard team posted on Facebook about the incident, saying: "With the storms washing debris up onto beaches, please don't touch any drums, containers or ordnance and call 999 for the coastguard.

"Stay safe near the water."

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