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San Diego News Tests Inconclusive On County Mystery Odor

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SAN DIEGO -- Authorities continue to investigate reports of a strong, chemical-like odor from around the county.Air samples taken in the Del Mar area by the Air Pollution Control District Wednesday afternoon have come back inconclusive.More tests will be conducted Thursday morning and results may be available by the afternoon, according to the APCD.

The agency warned that new tests may not detect anything if the smell is not present.People began making emergency calls about 2 p.m. to report a pervasive and pungent smell variously described as akin to kerosene, diesel fuel, bus exhaust, lighter fluid and other petroleum-based substances, according to Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.On Wednesday afternoon, 10News received dozens of calls from residents who said they smelled what they believed was jet fuel in the air.Residents from areas such as Encinitas, Solana Beach, Pacific Beach, Mira Mesa and La Jolla all reported the odor. Residents living in inland areas such as North Park, Hillcrest and Rancho Bernardo told 10News they smelled the odor in their area."I feel this air bothering my throat while walking," said Claudia from Encinitas.Andria in North Park added "It is horrible here ... We are getting headaches and feeling really dizzy."There were no reports that the vapors led to any physical ailments, Luque said.A public affairs spokesman at MCAS Miramar said the odor could be smelled at the base, but noted that the base's air operations have had not reported any fuel spills or aircraft that had to dump jet fuel in the county area.An FAA spokesman told 10News they were not aware of any fuel dumping being carried out on Wednesday.Mario Aguilera of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said he did not know of any algae blooms or anything organic that could be causing the smell.San Diego Gas & Electric officials said they have received numerous calls regarding the odor. The utility sent technicians into the community to try and determine the source of the smell.Engine crews investigated the widespread affected areas, including Del Mar Heights, Scripps Ranch, La Jolla, Hillcrest and downtown San Diego, finding no apparent source."They can't isolate what it is," Luque said in the early evening.10News checked with area hospitals to see if there was an increase of visits to their emergency rooms related to the smell, but all of those we spoke with said no.

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