Gas odor in Gloucester County identified as Lubrizol leak from tanker truck

Officials say a gas leak in Gloucester County that sent a strong odor through multiple counties has been fully contained.  

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management advised residents to stay indoors on Wednesday afternoon after the first 911 call came in around 3:27 p.m., Camden County officials say. 

Firefighters doused a tanker truck parked at the TA Travel truck stop on Berkley Road in East Greenwich, Gloucester County. Police say the TransChem USA trailer was hauling 7,000 gallons of a fuel additive and was venting the chemical into the air.

Officials in Gloucester County investigate a natural gas leak in Paulsboro, N.J.

Police in surrounding communities received numerous calls regarding fumes in the area, extending into Woodbury and beyond into Camden County.

"Looking at the tanker just fuming like this. It was screaming. I’m like, ‘Whoa,’" Shane Odell said.

Odell and Barry Adams were parked at the truck stop around 3:20 Wednesday afternoon. They saw and smelled a major problem.

"Every couple minutes, it would purge and the fumes were just going across the parking lot like it was gonna blow. That’s when we said ’Hey, we better go,’" Odell explained.

Officials in Gloucester County investigate a natural gas leak in Paulsboro, N.J.

They called 911. Police, EMS, Hazmat, OEM and NJ DEP all responded. Officials determined that the tanker released fumes in response to hot conditions.

"When the temperature rises to a certain level, the vessel itself will actually expel fumes. It’s built to do that. There’s no peak, per se," stated East Greenwich Twp. Police Chief Matthew Brenner.

Officials say health concerns are low, but ordered people inside because the smell was strong.

"Smelled really bad. Smelled like butane, acetone, solvents. It was strong," Odell remarked.

As the wind blew, the smell traveled, along with the news, all over social media.

"I got about 82 alerts saying gas smell. They were giving specific locations," William Clark said.

Clark lives about 12 miles away in Washington Township. He was relieved to hear there was no imminent danger, but says the stench was a bit startling. "It was overwhelming, to the point where you could be dizzy."

Hours later, the county's emergency management department said the odor was identified as the release of Lubrizol, otherwise known as Zinc Alkyldithiophosphate. 

The shelter in place for residents was lifted early Friday morning, but residents from multiple places, including Philadelphia, reported that the odor was still strong.