March 2, 2020 – Philadelphia, PA
People in Center City, Philadelphia began to notice a strong gas like odor in their buildings on Monday, March 2. Many of the buildings along Market Street and neighboring areas were evacuated as a safety precaution. The odor could be smelled from 15th Street and Market to 22nd and Chestnut.
The source of the gas smell may be related to work being done at the former PES refinery in South Philadelphia. The refinery closed after an explosion in June 2019. A spokesman for the Philadelphia Health Department has stated that the former refinery was cleaning out tanks on Monday as part of their closing process. Mercaptan was released as part of the process. Mercaptan is a non-hazardous additive used in the refining process.
UPDATE: The refinery has now been ruled out as the source of the smell. At the time, the source is unknown.
Source: NBC 10