South Jersey odor investigation: Remeditation continues after fumes cause big stink

EAST GREENWICH TWP., NJ (WPVI) — Clean-up work continues after fumes from a tanker truck were released in Gloucester County on Wednesday, causing a major stench in parts of South Jersey.

The TA Travel Center on Berkley Road in East Greenwich Township remained closed on Friday, a few days after the incident first emerged.

Officials want to reassure that the community and surrounding area are safe. If the smell is in your home or your car, officials say the best thing to do is open your windows.

“It just seems to get absorbed by material things. I think it’s going to take a long time to dissipate,” said Heather Joyce of Paulsboro, New Jersey.

The lingering smell reaches residents miles away and slows nearby businesses.

“The smell burned your eyes, it was so strong. This morning I opened all the doors to let in an oblique breeze,” said Laura Mackay, owner of Bourbon and Brews.

Officials say the air is being monitored around the clock in the immediate area and surrounding areas. A toxicologist is expected to arrive Friday night.

“The top priority will always be the safety of the community, if anything changes we will be at the forefront and let the community know,” said East Greenwich Police Commissioner Matthew Brenner.

A representative of the tanker company says the incident is being investigated.

“The problem wasn’t specific to the tank. The problem was specific to the product, something was causing a chemical reaction. The tank is designed to release when a certain pressure is reached to prevent the tank from exploding,” said Dave Edmondson, a representative at Transchem.

The driver was on a meal break when the hazardous materials situation unfolded on Wednesday afternoon. According to Transchem, nothing unusual had been reported before that time.

Chopper 6 was over us on Friday as crews continued the lengthy clean-up process.

“The scrubbing allows the fumes from the container to escape from the chemical into a recirculation system that allows them not to disperse into our community,” explained Chief Brenner.

Local residents say it stinks, but they trust local officials.

“I trust them to make that decision based on the information given, I would expect nothing less from them. And if it was a dangerous situation, I think they would let us go,” Joyce said.

Officials say they’ve had countless calls from people with minor symptoms, but no one has been taken to hospital.

Any residents having issues with this particular incident should contact the Gloucester County Office of Emergency Response at (856) 384-6800.

Transchem has also set up two numbers. If you call (856) 807-5388, you will be put through to a team of nurses or toxicologists.

A claims department will be established beginning Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at (855) 476-7817.

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