GRANADA HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of Porter Ranch residents remained concerned for their health Wednesday after seeing a disturbing infrared video that possibly indicates the presence of methane hovering above the community.
CBS2's Louisa Hodge reported lawyers who are suing Southern California Gas Company on behalf of the residents paid to have the video made to help prove harmful gas was lingering in the area following a six-week natural gas leak at SoCal Gas Company's Aliso Canyon storage facility near Northridge.
The leak was discovered on Oct. 23 and was reported to the county five days later.
Since then, residents have complained of an intermittent rotten-egg smell along with reporting symptoms such as nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and other issues.
According to lawyers, the infrared video was shot during the day using a Gasfinder 320 camera, which is also used by state regulators to detect methane leaks and pollution.
"It's a $100,000 camera," the attorney, R. Rex Parris said. "It's designed specifically to design the gases. And no it's not fog, it's not a cloud. It's poison gases."
The video, which was shown to hundreds of concerned residents Tuesday night, revealed what appears to be a massive cloud of gas hovering over the community.
According to a professor of Hydrocarbons at the University of Southern California, the video does possibly show methane gas, but the plume could also be a mixture of different elements or even just fog.
Samples would need to be taken to confirm the contents of the air that residents are breathing to prove what substance is lingering in the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, residents feel the video confirmed their fears that the natural gas leak is contaminating their community and posing a significant health risk to residents.
Parents have formed online groups asking the Los Angeles Unified School District to find alternate locations for their children to attend school.
However, public health officials stress the leak of methane does not pose a threat because the gas dissipates outdoors and is coming from a site over a mile away from — and more than 1,200 feet higher than — homes or public areas.
On Monday, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit against the gas company stemming from the leak.
At 2:30 p.m., SoCal Gas Company officials plan to provide updates to residents and answer their questions.
Erin Brockovich, an environmental activist, will also speak to the community at 6:30 p.m. this evening.
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