SHOPPERS and staff had to evacuate a high street store when fumes were smelt during a busy Saturday shopping day.

Emergency services rushed to Superdrug in Monmouth’s Monnow Street to investigate, and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus found that the gas was a result of cleaning agents used by a plumber to clear the drains.

It is thought that the caustic liquids reacted with each other to cause the smell.

A spokesman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) said: “We received a call at 12.17pm on March 23 for an incident in Monnow Street. Monmouth Station attended. SWFRS officers ventilated and evacuated the area. Crews stood down at 3.27pm.”

Storemanager, Jane Freeman, later thanked the emergency services and said firefighters had done “an amazing job.”

Posting on the Monmouth New Businesses Facebook page, she added: “I want to thank them for their support and help at this hard time. We never give our appreciation to those who serve us and save our lives. Thank you seems such a small word to say – thank you from myself store manager and the team of Superdrug, (and I) want to also thank the ambulance service, thank you so very much.”

A Superdrug spokesperson said: “The drain in our Monmouth store was blocked and while the plumber was fixing this there was unfortunately a gas leak.

“The safety of our customers and colleagues is our primary concern and the store was closed as a precaution while this was rectified.”

The store remained closed over the weekend, but reopened on the Monday.