Noxious odor prompts evacuations in Skippack Township

Noxious odor routs 150 in Skippack Twp.

Authorities evacuated about 150 residents from the 4200 block of Gorski Lane in Skippack Township Sunday night while investigators sought out the mysterious source of an odor that fire officials identified as hydrogen cyanide.

More than eight fire companies and Montgomery County hazardous-materials experts responded to the call about odors in the Fairlawn Court townhouse development. The Red Cross was summoned in case the displaced residents needed overnight accommodations at a local elementary school, said Sara Smith of the Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter.

Two energy companies that operate in the area said they tested their systems on site and determined they were not the source of the odor. A spokeswoman for Peco Energy Co. said the utility's electric and natural gas distribution systems were operating normally. And Phil West, a spokesman for Spectra Energy Corp., said its Texas Eastern natural gas transmission pipeline was operating correctly. "There's no leak in our system," he said.

- Andy Maykuth