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Natural gas smell in Troy not a threat

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published October 9, 2019


Students and staff at Hamilton Elementary School, at Square Lake and Crooks roads, and workers in nearby office buildings were evacuated when they smelled a fuel-like odor inside the buildings Oct. 8. 

The Troy Fire Department investigated and determined that the smell was not dangerous. They thanked Troy School District staff for their quick action, Kerry Birmingham, the director of communications and strategic initiatives for the district, said in an email to Hamilton families the morning of Oct. 8. 

Troy Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Riesterer said  the Troy Fire Department learned that Consumers Energy was transferring the substance that emits the rotten egg odor into natural gas from a well at its Sturgeon Point pumping station, at Square Lake and Crooks roads, Oct. 8 when the substance was released. 

“The well had come to the end of its life,” Reisterer said. “They introduced a flare into the pipe to burn off any more excess from escaping.” 

“We still recommend that you call 911 anytime you smell natural gas,” he said, “even if you were told the day before it was OK.”

He noted that the city’s reverse 911 system, CodeRED, which provides public safety alerts to those who have the app, is up and running, and it sent an alert that the smell was not dangerous. 

The Smart Phone App — MITroy — aims to connect residents to all services, resources and information on the city’s website in a more user-friendly format for smartphones.  

“It just takes a minute to download,” said Cindy Stewart, the city’s community affairs director. The free app is available on iTunes and Google Play. 

People can use the app to submit requests for services, report code enforcement and pothole concerns, have easy access to city departments, provide feedback, and to get safety alerts through the CodeRED mobile alerts.

Consumers Energy could not be reached for comment. 

Call Staff Writer Terry Oparka at (586) 498-1054.