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Strange Odor Alarms Hundreds in Columbus

COLUMBUS (Chris Vanocur/Kate Liebers) -- A smell apparently originating from the sewer has mystified officials as much as it has offended Columbus residents' nostrils.

Columbia Gas of Ohio received more than 800 complaints about what residents suspected was a gas leak.

The company reported there was no gas leak, as did fire officials, but the specific cause was not immediately known.

"We have sent out technicians throughout the Columbus area to respond to these calls and, so far, no natural gas issue has been found that can explain the order," spokesperson Shana Eiselstein said.

The Columbus Division of Fire reported making 17 foreign odor and seven natural gas leak runs, but the cause of the smell was not determined.

The runs were concentrated west of Columbus -- as far south as Grove City, as far west as Hilliard, and as far north as the Dublin and Worthington area.

Resident Bill Igel said the smell was disconcerting.

"We came out to put my son on the bus and we smelled gas," he said. "(We) thought there might be a gas leak."

His neighbor apparently smelled it too, so Igel's wife called 911.

"You don't want your house to explode. You don't want your neighbor's house to explode. So it's concerning," Igel said.

He said the fire department told residents the smell was in the sewer, but did not provide further details.

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