A “non-threatening liquid” poured onto the steps of a tanning salon sparked a major scare on Streatham High Road today.

One woman needed medical treatment for smoke inhalation after the unidentified substance was emptied at the entrance of Sunset Tan on The High Parade at about 1pm.

The High Road was shut southbound between Leigham Avenue and Woodbourne Avenue in Streatham Hill following the incident, which was originally described by emergency services as a “chemical spill”.

Police cordoned off the area as three fire crews from West Norwood and Tooting fire stations, plus several specialist vehicles which are deployed for tackling chemical fires, checked the scene for fire risks.

Wycliffe Sande, a waiter who works at nearby Nandos, said the incident “caused a lot of commotion”.

He said: “It scared quite a lot of people because police said it was a chemical fire. But afterwards they said it was nothing serious.”

Andrew Manuel, who works at Nineteen restaurant, added: “It looked a bit like a hullabaloo over nothing.”

Lambeth Police are investigating the case following reports of criminal damage to the premises.

A spokeswoman said: “There wasn’t a chemical spill but there were reports of criminal damage. A small amount of non-threatening liquid was poured on to the steps.

“No arrests have been made but enquiries are ongoing.”

The salon’s owners declined to comment on the fiasco but said: “It wasn’t a chemical. It was nothing serious.”

Did you see what happened? Call the news desk on 02087226337, tweet @streathamnews or email rblundy@london.newsquest.co.uk.