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Two die after 'chemical' incident

A man and a woman have been found dead in a car in a suspected "chemical" incident, firefighters said.

Crews were called to industrial units in Braintree, Essex, after a worker raised the alarm.

Divisional Officer Ray Skinner, of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We believe the chemical involved is hydrogen sulphide but that has still to be confirmed.

"There is no risk to the public as the car is in a remote location at the end of an industrial estate. The area is now a police crime scene and once medical experts have had a chance to do their work, the fire service will be assisting police with recovery at the scene."

Essex Police said the deaths were not being treated as suspicious. A police spokesman said units on the Braintree Enterprise Centre, where the car was found, had been evacuated. She said a "noxious substance" was found inside the car.

Susan Meads, administrator of the centre, said home-made signs had been placed on the 2007 blue Vauxhall Astra at the centre of the incident.

"The people in question have posted signs on the windows of the vehicle to say there's toxic chemicals inside and not to open the door," she said. "I believe they have been made on a computer."

She said the bodies were discovered by a man who pulled up alongside the vehicle.

"He thought it was suspicious so he called a colleague, who is an ex-police officer," she said. "Then they called the emergency services."

She said dozens of firefighters, paramedics and police were at the scene. The majority of the 30 businesses on the site have been evacuated.

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