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Source of gas smell still unknown

on October 8, 2013

An employee at the Social Security Office in Richmond was hospitalized after she complained about inhaling the gas fumes that hundreds of residents reported smelling this afternoon.

Starting at 2:30 p.m. the Richmond Fire Department received a large number of calls reporting the strong odor in Point Richmond. The wind carried the smell, pushing the odor up to North Richmond, said Richmond Fire Chief Michael Banks.

As a precaution, the Richmond Police Department notified several schools to shelter in place. Numerous residents chose to voluntarily evacuate the city but no official evacuations orders were given, said Richmond Police Captain Mark Gagan.

Around 4:00 p.m. RFD said calls stopped coming in and the smell was gone. The source of the odor is still unknown, initially RFD said they were investigating industrial businesses in the area.

“No one’s coming forward at this point to say we had a problem,” Banks said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Chevron both confirmed their operations are not responsible for the gas-like smell.

PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said company representatives were sent to investigate the situation and confirmed that PG&E was not the source of the odor.

Chevron released a statement shortly after complaints came in stating that the Richmond refinery was not responsible for the smell and their monitors were not showing any signs of gas leakage.

Reporter Sukey Lewis contributed to this article. 

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