STUDENTS and staff from an engineering college in Basildon were evacuated after noxious smells became a cause for concern today (Monday, January 21).

A heavy emergency presence could be seen on the grounds and outside of PROCAT college, at Lucklyn Lane, in Basildon, around 1pm.

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A member of staff outside insisting the "general public should not worry" but confirmed the commotion was necessary because of the youngsters in the building.

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Several fire engines were on site and a number of ambulances, including incident response teams.

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A spokesman for PROCAT College said: "“The PROCAT Basildon campus has been closed to students and staff from midday today as a precautionary measure due to unidentified smells from drains in some parts of the college. "As always, the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority and so we have called the fire brigade in to investigate the cause of this and ensure the site is safe. "We will keep students and staff updated as soon as we know more.”"

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Firefighters attended Luckyn Lane, Basildon as a precaution today after reports of a chemical smell.

“Fire crews worked alongside site staff to evacuate the building, before carrying out tests to ensure there were no hazardous fumes or substances present.”

East of England Ambulance has also been contacted for comment.