U.S. Coast Guard investigates strong oil smell in waters off Vallejo as residents report trouble breathing

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating reports of an oil sheen and strong smell near Vallejo that prompted firefighters to recommend residents shelter in place after some complained they had trouble breathing.

A Coast Guard helicopter planned to conduct a search Wednesday morning to try to locate the sheen near Vallejo and Mare Island. Coast Guard boats and a helicopter crew did not find the sheen on Tuesday.

The ferry Intintoli first reported a strong smell of oil at about 8 p.m. Later, other ferry vessels and crew members from Coast Guard Station Vallejo reported seeing a sheen on the water.

Coast Guard officials said it’s unclear if the sheen is related to the strong odor that prompted the Vallejo Fire Department to advise its residents to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off any air conditioning.


Pacific Gas & Electric said a team was working with public safety officials in Vallejo to determine the origins of the odor.

Residents reported difficulty breathing because of the strong odor, with many flocking to Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center to seek medical assistance, KPIX-TV reported.

According to the fire department, natural gas levels in the air were normal.

“Due to this evening’s wind conditions, we are confident to report that the source of the unknown odor is not from within the Vallejo city limits,” the fire department said.


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