Natural gas smell comparative to rotten eggs concerning DMV residents

There’s something in the air moving through the DMV raising concern as fire crews and utility companies have received nearly 100 calls from people about a natural gas smell sweeping the area from D.C. to Montgomery County.

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FOX 5’s Sierra Fox asked Pete Piringer, Public Information Officer for Montgomery County Fire and EMS, about where this rotten egg odor could be coming from.

"Typically it can be a very small gas leak. Sometimes the weather; you have atmospheric inversions or weather conditions that can affect and cause these odors to hang around and stick around at low places. The wind might be blowing in a certain direction. It could be decaying leaves or some other natural phenomena happening," said Piringer.

Washington Gas sent FOX 5 this statement:

"The high volume we experienced in a short period of time was unusual. We have found that once investigated, for a majority of the calls, we have not detected natural gas and they do not appear to be natural gas-related."

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The DC Office of Unified Communications says they received 85 calls between 3:15 and 5:50 p.m. of people smelling gas in all four quadrants of the District on Monday. Firefighters did investigate, but couldn’t uncover how or where the smell originated.

FOX 5 was on the scene of an actual call last night in Wheaton, Maryland. A gentleman called 911 because he smelled natural gas. The fire department arrived and did find an issue – a gas leak, but that was a rarity because in many other cases, no issue was discovered.

Montgomery County Fire and EMS say they received a dozen calls yesterday of a natural gas odor in Silver Spring and Takoma Park. They responded to each location to check the meters for any potential explosive danger, but couldn’t determine the source for the odor and didn’t find anything that was permanent or hazardous.

"I think what happened yesterday, Monday, was a little bit unusual because we had a number of calls in the small general vicinity, but not associated to each other and also had some activity in the District of Columbia seemed to move throughout different neighborhoods like it did here," said Piringer.


Officials want to remind anyone who smells gas to call 911, their gas company, and leave the area right away.