FORENSIC tests are being carried out on a chemical which sparked a major safety alert in Sheffield after it was discovered in a house where a man’s dead body was found.
The chemical is being subjected to specialist tests before police can reveal what it was, but housemates who made the grim discovery in their home told emergency workers who ventured into the property on Holland Place, off London Road, Highfield, there was a ‘gas-like’ smell inside.
Concerns over the noxious fumes sparked an emergency evacuation of nearby homes and emergency workers called to the scene wore specialist protective suits as a precaution while they searched the house and removed items for forensic examination.
Residents said they were told there had been a chemical spill and one casualty.
Police have quashed rumours that the incident was related to terrorism and today stressed they do not believe there was ever any intention for anyone to be deliberately harmed by the substance found in the property.
Police expect to have the test results from the chemical found in the house later this week.
Superintendent Martin Hemingway, who led the police response to the incident on Monday afternoon, said: “Emergency services were called by the residents of a house in the London Road area who had found one of their housemates dead and there was some concern because there was a smell of gas in the room.
“We found one person who was deceased and there was a noxious substance present.
“We are absolutely clear that there was no malicious intent and no suggestion that anything like terrorism was involved.
“We are also sure that the individual concerned had no intention to harm anyone. It is for the coroner to say what his intentions for himself were.”
He said the death was not being treated as suspicious and police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the fatality.
He said officers are now trying to establish a clear picture of the dead man’s last known movements.
Supt Hemingway praised residents for the way they dealt with the evacuation.
He said: “They were very disturbing scenes for local residents - all the emergency services personnel and the protective clothing they were wearing.
“We were really, really impressed with the way everyone co-operated with requests to leave their properties and the way they responded.
“It is always the emergency services who get mentioned during incidents like this but Sheffield Council need recognition for its response to this too in terms of supporting local people affected by it.”