Two hospitalised after shoppers ‘collapse with breathing problems’ in Longbridge Sainsbury’s

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A SAINSBURY’S near Birmingham was evacuated this morning after multiple shoppers collapsed with breathing problems. Several people were treated at the scene, two people were taken to hospital.

UPDATE 3.15 pm (May 20) – Two women have been hospitalised after several shoppers at Sainsbury’s in Longbridge collapsed with breathing problems on Friday, May 20.

Emergency services rushed to the Sainsbury’s in Longbridge near Birmingham at around 10 am after “reports that seven people were suffering breathing problems.”

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Sainsbury’s and other nearby buildings were evacuated after several people inside the supermarket experienced respiratory problems.

“A total of seven patients were assessed by the ambulance service after displaying minor respiratory problems. Two women received treatment on scene before being conveyed by ambulance, in a stable condition, to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for further checks.

“The remaining five patients were later discharged on scene.

“A number of other people at the scene, who were described as ‘worried but well’, received advice from the team of ambulance staff.

“This was a well-managed tri-service response which, together with the help from retail staff, saw the safe and speedy evacuation of a large number of people. Investigations into the cause of the incident continue.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told BirminghamLive: “Emergency services attended our Longbridge store this morning. Safety is our highest priority and the store is closed while we assist the police with their investigations.”

According to Charlotte Cross, an ITV reporter at the scene, 200 people were evacuated from the air-con systems within the supermarket was isolated and tests were carried out on the air quality.

However, initial tests didn’t find anything so the road outside Sainsbury’s has been reopened but the store remains shut.

UPDATE 1.05 pm (May 20) – Unconfirmed reports from people at the scene have suggested that someone had ‘let off some type of gas in the shop’, which led to shoppers collapsing with breathing problems at the Sainsbury’s in Longbridge on Friday, May 20.

Photos circulating social media show a heavy police presence with a number of ambulance and fire crews.

A spokesperson from WMFS said: “Shortly before 10 am on Friday 20 May we were alerted to an incident at the Sainsbury’s supermarket on High Street, Longbridge, Birmingham. A number of people had reported feeling unwell, with apparent breathing difficulties.

“Two fire engines and one of our 4×4 Brigade Response vehicles responded, from Northfield and Kings Norton fire stations, together with a number of officers and colleagues from the police and ambulance services.

“The store had been evacuated before we arrived. A 50-metre cordon was put in place around the store. Other premises within the cordon were also evacuated.”

Birmingham Live also reported that two forensic officers entered the Sainsbury’s because there was ‘a group of casualties.’

An onlooker told the news outlet: “The police said there’s been an escape of gas. “There’s police everywhere, you cannot get through. It’s all closed off so it seems quite serious.”

Another person said: “People were on the floor gasping for breath.”

ORIGINAL 12.52 pm (May 20) – Emergency services rushed to the Sainsbury’s in Longbridge near Birmingham on Friday, May 20 after several people suddenly developed problems with their breathing.

Police were called to the scene at around 10 am and the incident is ongoing as they continue to investigate the cause of the issue.

Officers from West Midlands Police evacuated the store and people from other buildings in the area were told to leave.

A spokeswoman from West Midlands Police said: “We are currently dealing with an incident at Sainsbury’s in Longbridge Lane, Longbridge. We were alerted at about 10am to reports that seven people were suffering breathing problems.

“Officers attended and the store has been evacuated and people are also being cleared from other buildings in the area. The six patients are being treated by paramedics at the scene.

“We have specialist officers working with colleagues across the emergency services to establish exactly what has happened. A cordon has been put in place and we’d advise people to stay away from the area.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We’re currently in attendance at an incident at Sainsbury’s in Longbridge Lane, Longbridge following a call at 9.53 am.

“A number of ambulances & specialist resources are on scene treating seven patients who were feeling unwell with minor respiratory problems.

“The public are advised to avoid the area whilst emergency services deal with the incident”.

This is a breaking news story, we will continue to update you with further information when it is made available.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at