(PHILADELPHIA) — Dozens of residents outside Philadelphia spent Sunday night sleeping at a local elementary school after a mysterious odor reported in the area prompted evacuations.
Emergency officials detected traces of a potentially deadly chemical agent, though they say it’s doubtful any lives were in danger. Approximately 150 people in Montgomery County were affected.
A “strong odor” was reported in a Skippack Township home Sunday afternoon with high readings of a “Volatile Organic Compound” found in area basements, according to a notice issued to residents.
While instruments detected hydrogen cyanide, officials believe it may be another compound.
“We had readings, high readings of hydrogen cyanide and as we started checking the houses next to it we had readings in about a hundred of so houses here in the development,” said Skippack Township Fire Chief Haydn Marriott.
Residents were asked to open their windows and leave their homes until further notice.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies are working to determine the chemical involved as well as its source.
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Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Heather Kelly, CNN
Megan McNulty, Deseret News