Residents hope for better communication after gas smell from Bryan recycling center
While natural gas is odorless, a nontoxic chemical that gets added does smell. This is called Mercaptan, or Methanethiol.
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Emergency crews spent days responding to calls in North Bryan for a gas leak, only to find a recycling process was the source of the scare.
While natural gas is odorless, a nontoxic chemical that gets added does smell. This is called Mercaptan, or Methanethiol. According to the Bryan Fire Department, the EMR Metal recycling center on Texas Avenue was processing a natural gas pipe, sending that smell into the community.
Lieutenant Ethan Ballard with the Bryan Fire Marshall’s Office says emergency calls flooded in on Thursday and Friday.
“I believe we had over 50 9-1-1 calls for the smell of gas,” but, he said that doesn’t even compare to the response from Atmos. “I believe at one point they said they had at least 150 calls in for a gas smell.”
One of those calls was from Nicole Petty.
“The [Atmos] guy said we were the 161 callers or something and I was like, oh my gosh,” she said.
Petty lives just across the street from the recycling center with her husband and two young kids.
She said this has never happened before.
“It was so strong that our throats were burning. I mean we were getting kind of nervous to even stay in the area because it was so bad,” Petty said. “When it’s the whole neighborhood and just so strong it was, that’s bad.”
Ballard says they will be conducting an after-action report to determine if there is a way to communicate with residents before a process like this happens. But, he said they also want to ensure residents report any and all smells of gas.
Petty said she would appreciate some notice, and it would not deter her call to Atmos.
“A warning would be great next time,” she said. “But I will definitely call because it was just, I mean being that strong and that close to my house. It was very scary.”
Ballard said after investigating on-site at the recycling center, a hazardous chemical was found. A solid sample has been sent for testing and Ballard says they don’t believe it is impacting residents.
KBTX reached out to EMR for information on the process to recycle with the natural gas present but was told the person who could share information will not be in the office this week.
Copyright 2023 KBTX. All rights reserved.