Strong Odor Reported on Commercial Street is Not Natural Gas Leak


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2, 211)

A large number of calls complaining of a strong odor of natural gas in the area of West Commercial Street, Portland, are being received by Portland Fire Department dispatchers according to a press release issued by Tim Nangle, of the Fire Department.

In response to these calls, fire crews were called to the area early this morning and investigated the situation.  “While the smell is strong and widespread due to the current weather conditions, there is no cause for alarm or concern.  We’ve been in contact with Unitil and Shaw  Brothers and understand the situation and are comfortable that is being handled in the safest possible manner at this time,” according to the same press release.

Extensive work is being done in the area of West Commercial – most of it in connection with the expansion of the International Marine Terminal there.  Shaw Brothers of Gorham, Maine, is unearthing a large quantity of contaminated soil which is creating the pungent, gas like scent.   Unitil, the Natural Gas provider in the Portland area has investigated the odor, and found no leaks in their system.  Unitil inspectors are in the area and have noted that the odor is strong, but no readings of natural gas have been detected.