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Smell gas in El Paso recently? Here’s what you need to know

Update: The El Paso Fire Department verified the cause of the smell of gas in different locations across El Paso recently. East and Northeast El Paso were among the areas where the smell was most prevelant.

"What happened actually was that mercaptan -- which is a component that they add to the gas so you can smell it -- was being added to the line. So what happens here is that natural gas does not have a smell by itself. It's usually odorless, so we cannot identify it. Then it becomes dangerous. So the gas companies add this chemical to it, so... what we identify as (a natural gas), is actually that," said EPFD spokesperson Enrique Dueñas.

But according to Dueñas, the adding of mercaptans are not the only reason El Pasoans have been smelling that odor.

"Sometimes, we see because Texas Gas is repairing some of the lines. So not always they are gas leaks. Sometimes they're just being repaired. Some other times we have construction crews out here, and we know there's a lot of construction right now in El Paso. So every now and then, a construction crew will accidentally hit one of the gas lines, and that's when they start releasing some of the gas," said Dueñas.

Dueñas had additional tips to keep you safe from potential gas leaks.

"Whenever you feel the smell at home or anywhere else where you are, the best course of action is just to leave the building and call 911 from a safe location," he said.

Still, there are preventative measures you can take to keep your home safe from a potential leak.

"If you have a house that has piping that's been there for a couple of decades, it might be worth to check just to make sure that there's no leaks there, that they are not being corroded. And that way, you can identify before, and you can call the gas company again, or you can call a professional, a contractor so they can check it," said Dueñas. "Also, what happens a lot at homes is they start digging outside of their other front yards especially, and they don't check before. It's always best to call to make sure that there's no lines going underneath your house -- even if it's your front yard. There could be a line down there."

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Many El Pasoans have complained about the smell of gas around the city recently, and first responders have been busy responding to gas leaks to ensure the safety of the community. But there are things you can do to keep yourself safe if you notice the odor of natural gas.

According to the Texas Gas Service, natural gas is intentionally given an odor so that the average person can smell it easily. Natural gas is flammable and can be ignited by heat, sparks or flames.

To avoid causing a spark, fire or explosion, the Texas Gas Service has the following tips:

  • Do not flip a light switch or ring a doorbell.
  • Do not light a match or cigarette.
  • Do not use your phone, tablet, computer or other mobile devices.
  • Do notopen or close your windows or garage door.
  • Do not start your vehicle if nearby.
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Kerry Mannix


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