TWO woman women have been taken to hospital after a suspected air-conditioning unit leak at Reading train station.

The two people, believed to be employees of the Boots retain unit in the station concourse, complained of feeling unwell earlier this afternoon.

Emergency services were called, fearing a potential gas leak in the unit.

Paramedics, firefighters from Caversham Road and Whitley Wood stations and British Transport Police officers attended the scene shortly after 12.15pm, who identified a leak in the store's air-conditioning and refrigeration system.

The Hazardous Response Unit from Whitley Wood fire station also attended as a precaution.

The store has been closed for the rest of the day.

A spokesman for British Transport Police said: “Officers were called to Reading railway station at 12.36pm today after reports that some people had become ill – possibly as a result of refrigerator equipment.

“Colleagues from the ambulance service also attended, and two people were taken to hospital.”

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) said: "The leak has been identified as coming from the store’s aircon system (not mains gas related).

"The system has been switched off and the store closed so all contained."
The spokesman confirmed that several more patients showing minor symptoms were being treated at the scene.

The two employees who were taken to hospital have been identified as a woman in her 20s and a woman in her 30s, who have been taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital.

A spokesman for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) said: "At 12.18pm on Thursday, 12 July, we were called by South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) to assist with a suspected chemical leak on Station Approach in Reading. 

"Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue crews from Caversham Road and Whitley Wood Fire Stations were sent to the scene alongside the Hazardous Response Unit from Whitley Wood. 

"Upon arrival, crews assisted Thames Valley Police and SCAS by making the scene safe. One firefighter wearing breathing apparatus isolated electrics to the air conditioning and refrigerators. Crews were on the scene for approximately one hour and 10 minutes."