Health officials cite Wynnefield warehouse for foul odors

The Philadelphia Department of Health has issued a 'notice of violation' against a Wynnefield warehouse after neighbors complained of foul odors coming from the facility Monday morning.

Tikia Percell and her 2-year-old daughter Addison are used to the unpleasant odor wafting into their home on the 5400 block of Upland Way. But this was much worse.

"This morning I was choking so bad," she told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "Me and my baby, we couldn't even breathe!"

A few doors down, Glen Hutchings had just posted about the smell on the neighborhood website when FOX 29 responded to a call from folks on the block.

"It smelled like stuff that exterminators use--that type of stuff."

Julien Kane had just returned from grocery shopping during our visit. She said the smell reminded her of bad vinegar. So why not call the city to complain?

"I don't call the city about anything. I can see how, you know, the type of staff they have and it's passed on from one department to another."

So she puts up with the smell?

"'Tolerated' is a better word for it," she told Gordon.

Turns out the warehouse is operated by a company called Dependable Distribution Services, Inc. The boss wasn't around when Gordon visited, but a worker told FOX 29 they distribute cocoa beans.

He said the beans can smell a bit "funky" and a quick Google search revealed those beans can, during certain stages of fermentation, smell powerfully of--you guessed it--vinegar!

But why was the odor so strong?

Gordon followed up on a neighborhood call to the city health department. They came out, inspected and issued a notice of violation. Turns out an exhaust fan at the warehouse was malfunctioning.

The city has given the company five days to fix it and give these neighbors back their clean air.

FOX 29 reached out to the company for comment, but as of late afternoon Monday, had not heard back.