The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Fire chief: Gas smell no cause for alarm


January 12, 2017

PORTALES — That smell was no cause for alarm, according to area fire officials.

Dozens of Roosevelt County residents, from Portales to Dora and elsewhere, reported gaseous smells on Tuesday night.

Portales Fire Chief Gary Nuckols said the odor originated from oil fields in the southern part of the county.

“Those were odors coming from the tank batteries from the oil fields,” he said.

Not knowing what they smelled, some area residents said they felt alarmed.

Wendy Toombs, who lives west of Portales on the Bethel highway, said she began to see people actively posting on social media about the smell just after she got home Tuesday night.

“(Most people posting) indicated they were outside of town,” she said, adding that she knew some people in Portales could smell the gaseous scent as well.

“It seemed to be far reaching, and it seemed to be really strong. You know when you are pumping at a gas station and you get an overwhelming whiff of the gas? It was like that,” she said. “I’m thinking stepping out my door, this is not a good thing. What if somebody had gone outside to smoke a cigarette? With a smell like that, (you have to wonder) were there fumes in the air? Then of course, you have livestock and animals outside, and you wonder (if it will affect them).”

Toombs said she can buy that anything is possible with rising air just causing the oil fields to be more potent, but she said she wouldn’t mind having a more definite explanation.

“I was concerned because of the heaviness and strength of it,” she said. “I have lived here since 1969, and I have never smelled anything like that before.

Toombs said when she went outside at 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, the smell was gone.

According to officials and residents, the smell appeared to have dissipated by Wednesday morning.

Staff Writer Eamon Scarbrough contributed to this report.


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