Suspicious gas odors are reported in Ulsan

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Suspicious gas odors are reported in Ulsan

Not long after reports of mysterious gas smells plagued Busan, phones at the fire department in Ulsan buzzed with reports of gas odors on Saturday.

Fire departments have not yet figured out the source of the smell.

According to the Ulsan Fire Department, it received 22 calls complaining of severe gas odors and chemical odors from 2:22 p.m. to 3:37 p.m.

The areas that made the calls were centered on the Nam District of Ulsan, including Sinjeong-dong, Yaeum-dong and Seonam-dong, all within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of the chemical and petrochemical plants of the district.

The fire department dispatched on Saturday nine fire trucks and 26 firefighters to the plants and the areas to check whether there was any gas leakage, but found none. The firefighters checked the level of gas concentration in the areas but still found nothing out of the ordinary.

“We received no more calls on gas smells after 3:37 p.m. Saturday,” said an official of the fire department. “But we are working with all relevant organizations to find out the exact cause of the reports.”

The Nam District Office and Ulsan Metropolitan Government said they are constantly patrolling the areas to see if they detect any more gas odors.

Some 160 reports on gas odors in Busan on Thursday had alarmed citizens. The city’s fire department and police and the Busan City Gas are yet to discover the source of the reported gas odor.

The Busan City Gas dispatched some 100 employees to check the gas pipes of the city but found no gas leakage.

Oftentimes, the odor of garbage incineration or terminal disposal of sewage can cause a chemical or gas smell, but the garbage incinerator in Haeundae District and sewage disposal center near Gwangan-ri beach appear to have been free of the smell.

City authorities are now searching gas cargo trucks and shipping vessels for a possible gas leak.

“It is likely that a mass gas leak in Haeundae District or some other area could have been blown across the city by the wind,” said Oh Jae-hoh, professor at Pukyong National University College of Environmental and Marine Sciences and Technology.

BY KANG SEUNG-WOO, WE SUNG-WOOK [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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