The Town Formerly Known As Prittlewell

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I never meant 2 cause u any sorrow
I never meant 2 cause u any pain
I only wanted 2 one time see u laughing
I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain
(The artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince, Purple Rain)

Well the people of the town of Prittlewell, England sure as heck weren't laughing a whole lot when purple powder started raining down over a two square mile area. The residents literally had a purple rain. Emergency crews were dispatched, chemical hazard experts deployed and the entire area was cordoned off. Eventually, they figured out it wasn't dangerous.

A cloud of purple powder sparked panic when it rained down on an Essex town.

Worried families dialled 999 after the brightly coloured dust leaked into the atmosphere and started settling on homes and cars in Prittlewell, outside Southend, yesterday.

Emergency crews feared they were dealing with a major incident and threw an exclusion zone around an area of two square miles. The first fire crews arriving on the scene thought the powder could be dangerous to anyone inhaling it and stopped people entering the sealed-off area.

A team of chemical hazard officers were called in but, after several hours, they established that the purple rain was just an industrial dye from a food packaging plant 500 metres away which is being demolished.

(There's a great picture on the Daily Mail website, by the way. This was quite a large amount of dye and it is very, very purple.) It is hard to believe the demolition company didn't notice anything unusual. Like a big old purple plume rising from the building as they tore it down. In fact, it's impossible to believe. The powder should wash off with water and detergent. There is no word if the town is considering changing its name to "Prince".

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