Warehouse Fire Was Source of ‘Putrid’ Odor in California

The lawsuit claims that for a week following the fire, neighbours living along the river had no idea what was causing the odour. The fire’s origin was a topic of discussion among local authorities. “Leaking pipeline” was the explanation given by Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes in early October.

There were no “physical resources” or “helping hands” for Monique Alvarez, 40, who lives within a “30-second jog” from the waterway, she claimed in an interview on Sunday.

We had no solutions at the moment,” Ms. Alvarez admitted, adding that her children had welts and a hard time breathing when they first fell asleep.

Carson's Lingering Foul Odor Emanated From Warehouse Fire

“One day felt like an eternity,” she stated of her time spent here.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported “extremely low quantities of hydrogen sulphide” in the air a week after the fire broke out. The department stated the odours were “sufficiently widespread” and encouraged people to obtain air filters, shut their windows and doors, and keep their dogs indoors for two days after the incident.

LA County paid for hotel rooms for 3,400 families, a representative for the Department of Public Works said, adding that 40,000 air purifiers were also distributed to those in need.

According to Mr. Lee, the county had spent $54 million in these attempts and emergency measures to reduce the channel’s stink as of last week.

According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Liberty Properties Limited Partnership and its parent firm, Prologis Inc., own the warehouse. This building was also used by Virgin Scent and Day to Day Imports, both of which store health and beauty products, according to the air quality district.

The Warehouse Fire That Left Carson With Its Stinking Smell

On Friday, officials reported that an investigation had determined a warehouse fire was the cause of a persistent noxious odour that has made Carson residents sick for more than a month.

Hydrogen sulphide, also known as “rotten eggs,” was produced during a large fire at a warehouse storing beauty products in September. The Dominguez Channel is a river that runs for 15.7 miles across Los Angeles County.

On Friday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District revealed it had issued violation letters to Los Angeles County and the four businesses that had kept chemicals there.

In a Carson warehouse at 16325 S. Avalon Blvd., two businesses—Virgin Scent Inc., doing business as ArtNaturals, and Day to Day Imports—reportedly kept a huge supply of health and cosmetic items. According to the SCAQMD, Liberty Properties Limited Partnership and Prologis Inc. are the warehouse’s owners.

On September 30, a massive fire broke out on the warehouse site, and over the next few days, firefighters worked tirelessly to put it out. Fire contaminated the sewer system and the Dominguez Channel with chemicals from the stored products, including ethanol.

Shortly after, the channel began to experience anaerobic degradation of organic debris, releasing toxic amounts of hydrogen sulphide into the atmosphere.

Soon after, SCAQMD started getting reports of unpleasant odours from Carson area residents; by day five, the agency had received 100 odour complaints. County inspectors discovered that the foul odour originated in the Dominguez Channel.

On Thursday, the air pollution agency served Los Angeles County and the four entities with ties to the warehouse with notices of violation.

Some 4,600 Carson, West Carson, and parts of Gardena, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Wilmington, and Long Beach residents have complained about the stink, despite assurances from officials that it poses no health risks. Several locals have complained of various aches and pains, including head and eye pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Because of the odour, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency earlier this month. The October directive followed a similar proclamation of a local emergency in the city.

To be absolutely clear, I do not want to.

Even though the Dominguez Channel’s hydrogen sulphide levels have been declared an emergency, that doesn’t imply local residents are in immediate danger. Not at all,” affirmed Chief of Staff Holly Mitchell.

As the report states, “it is abundantly evident that the odour is producing consistent and real health complaints, including nausea, headaches, throat and eye irritation, which is extremely troubling and significantly hurting the quality of life for far too many inhabitants.”

It was possible to detect the odour of the invisible gas, which is described as “extreme rotten eggs,” from the 405 freeway, a major artery in southern Los Angeles County.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, a third-generation Carson resident said that the city smelled like “rotten flesh sitting in the sun.”

While authorities assured locals that the stench would dissipate after a few days, it has persisted since it was first detected on October 3. In an effort to temporarily reduce the stench of hydrogen sulphide gas, the county’s Public Works department has begun spraying the river with Epoleon, a natural biodegradable spray that converts the gas into a byproduct of salt, which the county will remove using a different procedure.

To date, Public Works has reportedly spent some $5.4 million on clean-up efforts, including the provision of air filters, air purifiers, and temporary housing, as well as the reimbursement of homeowners for such costs.


Mitchell noted at the beginning of the month of November, “Even with that, these Herculean efforts have not eliminated the nuisance odour to yet.”

Upon receiving a notice of violation from the SCAQMD, civil penalties may be imposed. Companies and other organisations have the option of taking proactive steps to curb emissions and head off future infractions. The SCAQMD suggests going to Superior Court if you can’t come to an agreement with the other party.