Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2014

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Officials: Sump pump odor prompted Pa. evacuations

SKIPPACK, Pa. — Authorities were awaiting lab results Monday to identify the cause of a mysterious smell that led to a voluntary evacuation of about 150 homes in suburban Philadelphia.

Problems arose Sunday evening after a resident of the town of Skippack reported a strong odor. Testing of that home and several others led officials to identify basement sump pumps as the origin but they could not pinpoint the cause.

Authorities say they believe a type of organic substance emitted as gases from thousands of products was responsible. The products include paints, lacquers, cleaning supplies and stored fuels.

An emergency shelter was set up at an elementary school, and the Red Cross said 12 people from four families were put up for the night. Some residents went to a hospital as a precaution and were released.

Residents were told Monday they could return to their homes but asked that they be tested first before they move back in.

Officials scheduled a news conference for 11:45 a.m.

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