Fire department crews were in Old Town Saturday investigating a bad odour that was reported from the ambulance dispatch at Wellington Street, to as far as 124 Queen Street, next to Hendriks valu-mart.
“We ended up with 12 to 15 people talking to us and telling us they were smelling an odour,” says Fire Chief Nick Ruller.
Enbridge Gas was called to determine if there was a gas leak, but couldn’t find any evidence of natural gas.
Sewer gas, “highly toxic and flammable,” was also considered a possibility, says Ruller, but monitoring tests to determine the origin of the odour couldn’t detect any evidence of that either.
Tests were conducted inside buildings in the area first, and then the focus was shifted to underground infrastructure as a possible source, “but we were never able to identify the source,” says Ruller.
“Sheldon (Randall, operations manager) brought in staff, and we worked backwards trying to identify the odour.”
There was a lot of activity on Queen Street, and they weren’t taking any chances, said Ruller, but they could find no sign of an explosive substance.
More than two hours after arriving on the street, in the middle of a busy long weekend, it was determined there was no risk from a dangerous substance, and Ruller says the fire department and Enbridge left the area.
They were unable to identify the odour, he says, but considered the possibility that someone had disposed of a substance by pouring it into the sewer system.
“It worked out well in the end. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if we have to go out there again. But whatever it was, it wasn’t something that posed a risk to the public.”