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Massive Warehouse Fire Likely Caused Foul Odor In Carson, Authorities Say

CARSON (CBSLA) – Officials say a massive September fire at a warehouse which contained wellness and beauty products is likely to blame for the foul odor which has engulfed the city of Carson over the past few months.

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A fire smolders at a commercial distribution center on Oct. 1, 2021, in Carson, Calif. The blaze broke out on Sept. 30, but continued to burn the following day. (L.A. County Fire Department)

Following an investigation, the South Coast Air Quality Management District on Friday issued five notices of violation to multiple companies, along with Los Angeles County, for allegedly causing the elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide enter the Dominguez Channel.

The enormous industrial fire broke out Sept. 30 at a commercial distribution center at 16325 S. Avalon Blvd.

According to South Coast AQMD, two companies were storing large amounts of wellness and beauty products in the warehouse which burned. The chemicals from the products, which included ethanol, went into the sewer system and entered the Dominguez Channel.

"This was followed by the anaerobic decay of organic materials in the channel, which caused elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide to be emitted into the air," South Coast AQMD said in a news release.

About three days after the fire, South Coast AQMD began to receive odor complaints from residents, the agency says.

South Coast AQMD has since gotten more than 4,600 odor complains from residents. It also found that hydrogen sulfide levels were 230 times higher than the state nuisance standard.

The violations were issued to:

  • Virgin Scent, Inc. dba Art Naturals
  • Day to Day Imports, Inc.
  • Liberty Properties Limited Partnership and its parent company, Prologis, Inc.
  • Los Angeles County, which operates the Dominguez Channel.

According to South Coast AQMD, violation notices can lead to either civil penalties or civil lawsuits if no settlement is reached.

The odor forced the city of Carson to relocate over 1,300 residents to hotel rooms.

About three weeks after the blaze, a group of residents brought a class-action lawsuit against the businesses associated with the warehouse over the odor.

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