Reporting Meghan McCorkell
HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)– An alarming smell in Harford County has many people living there worried. The 911 calls are flooding in, all reporting a strong odor of natural gas.
Meghan McCorkell has the source of the smell.
Officials say that smell came from two states away, but it had dozens calling 911 right here in Maryland.
Something strange is in the air in Harford County.
“I smelled it in my backyard.”
“Like you had a pond and you had a lot of sitting water.”
“I smelled an odor of what I thought was natural gas.”
That foul odor was frightening for some.
“Someone could light a match or a lighter and it could be over.”
“It does make you a little nervous because you don’t want to blow up.”
Nearly 40 911 calls came in from all over the county, including at least a dozen to the Susquehanna Hose Company in Havre de Grace.
“It was one right after another,” Aberdeen firefighter Chuck Glassman explained. “I think one we went out about 5:30 and I didn’t finish until about 8:30.”
With the cause of the odor still unknown, Harford County staffed its emergency operations center. Finally, the source of the smell was discovered nearly 60 miles away in Paulsboro, N.J.
A broken pipe at an oil refinery caused a spill. That smell traveled, though health officials say it’s not dangerous.
The New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency claims: “Air monitoring indicates there should be no health effects from the odors caused by the spill.”
“The odor was so minute and dispersed over a large area that there was no real strong concentration in any one area,” Robert Thomas, an official in the Harford County Government, said.
A robocall was sent to calm residents.
“At this time, there has been no gas leak source identified in Harford County,” Thomas said.
Harford County is now breathing easier with the mystery solved.
Officials at the oil refinery say the leak is now under control.
Strong natural gas odors were also reported in Cecil County and New Castle, Del.