The odor was reported yesterday near seven homes on Short Branch Lane near Woodstream Boulevard. Five families that live in that section of homes were evacuated and spent last night in a hotel.
Hazmat crews, along with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, are at scene trying to determine the source of the smell. Crews have found high levels of methane in the soil near the homes, but that doesn’t necessarily explain the strong smell.
Electricity has been shut off to the homes in the area as a precaution and the Red Cross is assisting those residents who were evacuated.
Residents will be allowed to return home once the area is determined safe and power can be restored.
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions from Stafford County regarding hazmat investigations:
Is there any danger to my home?
There is no danger to your home or the residents of your home. The only potential danger was to the homes that were evacuated because of the levels of methane that were detected outside near the foundations of the homes. There were no levels of methane or other gases detected inside the homes. As a precaution, power was turned off in all the homes. Because there was no electricity in the homes, they were deemed temporarily uninhabitable and the residents had to be housed elsewhere.
What should I do if I smell methane or other unusual odors in or near my home?
Call 9-1-1 immediately.
How long will the investigation continue?
The investigation will continue until the source of the methane is detected and mitigated.
How will I be informed of any developments?
We will continue to keep you informed of any developments through your HOA. Please check your e-mails for updates. Also, you may call Fire and Rescue Public Information Officer Mark Doyle at (540) 379-7831.