UPDATE, AUG. 17, 12:50 P.M.: The cities of Santa Ana and Costa Mesa have released statements informing residents that the source of the odor was not spraying by OC Vector Control.
The vector control district released a statement of its own: “The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District has not conducted an aerial spraying and this year’s data does not support such drastic measures. The District’s campaign against mosquitoes involve the use of public health pesticides that are registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and is conducted to prevent human illness or to suppress a heavy nuisance infestation of mosquitoes.”
The mystery smell was reported to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is investigating its source.
Earlier reports that the source was methane from a pipe accidentally broken by crews working on oil rigs off the Huntington Beach shore were unfounded. (Residents of Surf City and Costa Mesa k now last night’s odor smelled like lighter or tiki torch fluid and not methane.)
Fire officials in the region say they fielded complaints of nausea.
At this hour, the source remains a mystery.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 16, 10:12 P.M.: It smells like lighter fluid in Costa Mesa right now and no one knows why.
The city’s fire department has reportedly received multiple calls about a foul odor.
These calls have come from as far south as the border with Newport Beach to as far north as the border with Santa Ana.
Besides lighter fluid, the mystery odor has been described as similar to jet fuel.
More than one resident–and I know this because I read someone other than me did the same thing–went to sniff their backyard tiki torches to make sure they were not emitting the fume.
The fire department was said to be trying to figure out the source of the odor Thursday evening.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.