Storm Drain Odor Linked to Propane Leak

The smell of gas coming from a storm drain near the Bank of America on 1130 S. Victoria Ave. turned out to be propane leaking from a roofing operation at the bank, according to the Ventura Fire Department.

Firefighters were called to investigate the odor about 5 p.m., said Battalion Chief Kevin Rennie. By using sensors, they determined the concentration of gas to be fairly low, well below the explosive range, he said. Firefighters used a large fan to disperse the gas, then took a second reading to make sure the storm drain was nearly free of propane, he said.

Officials believe the propane accumulated in the storm drain when roofers refilled their tanks for the following workday. The gas is used to power burners that heat roofing tar. Propane is heavier than air, and either a leaky tank released the gas, or residue from a hose settled in the drain, Rennie said.

“Propane has a very strong smell, so it’s hard to tell how concentrated it is,” he said. “That’s why we were called out to investigate.”