Hamilton residents that live on Mary street are now back inside after being out of their homes for much of the day. They were forced out due to the smell of gasoline coming from the sewers.
“At around 9-9:30, there was a really strong smell of gasoline coming from the south wall in my store.”
The owner of Handee Mart at the corner of Mary and Robert street, called 911 after noticing the pungent odour.
“I went down to the basement and there was a bit of a smell down there as well and it just kept getting stronger and stronger til it filled the entire store.”
Within minutes, Hamilton fire crews arrived on scene. Shortly after that, they upgraded the call to a hazardous materials one.
“When crews arrived, there was a strong odour of petroleum products that were in some of the residences.”
So they went door to door telling everyone to get out of their homes while they investigated.
“We’ve gone through house to house, from Barton to Cannon on Mary street. We have asked about 60 of these homes to vacate.”
It was soon discovered that the smell was coming from the sewers. Manhole covers on Mary street between Cannon and Barton were removed to flush out the sewer line with water.
“So at this point, we don’t know how the product got in, sewer abatement is going to look into that and do a further investigation.”
City officials tell CHCH they inspected the sewers and did not find anything out of the norm, but they said the fire department’s flushing of the sewers may have washed the substance away.
“They’ve determined that there is no hazard to the public other than the odour at this point, and that’s not a hazard.”
So by two o’clock, residents were allowed back in their homes. All tenants are safe, they’ve opened windows just for the sake of airing everything out, but they didn’t find anything in any of the apartments. The city says they will be running camera down the sewer tomorrow morning to check the structural integrity of the pipe, and to make sure nothing is leaking into it.