Residents fear toxic fumes wafting through Chicago neighborhood

Sara Suh speaks with CBS Chicago

CBS Chicago

A strange odor is wafting through homes in Chicago's northwest side, and CBS Chicago reports state and city officials have no answers for worried residents.

It's been a nightmare for Sara Suh, her husband and their 5-year-old daughter since last Monday. Windows are open -- even with the chilly temperatures -- and a fan is running.

The fear is that the odor is toxic. The strong scent of what smells like turpentine is coming from the basement's sump pump.

It's not just at this house. Neighbors in the Avondale community like Yuri Zilberg have the odor in their homes, as well.

"I thought I was going out of my mind," Zilberg says.

Suh has taken action, making a flurry of phone calls to state and city departments.

And they've responded. The Water Department, too. Firefighters were here three times last week, Suh says.

She even had her plumber take a look. It was a $150 house call.

Still, no one can explain it.

"I hope it's going to be fixed. It's not in my plan to live like this very long," Suh says.

Chicago Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford says firefighters tested the air with meters and found no signs of natural gas or carbon monoxide.