A noxious odor released from a 100-year-old cast-iron pipe in San Francisco’s Mission district this morning sickened 32 people and 13 of them were transported to local hospitals, officials reported.
The foul smell emerged from an underground pipe at around 11 a.m. today as Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews were working to replace the pipe with a new plastic pipe as part of an infrastructure improvement project near Tiffany Avenue and Valencia Street, utility spokeswoman Melissa Mooney said.
While the San Francisco Fire Department did not order any mandatory evacuations as a result of the smell, the incident did warrant a “red alert,” as more than 10 people were affected by the leak, a fire department dispatcher said.
A large group of people in the area of St. Luke’s Hospital voluntarily evacuated from several buildings, Mooney said.
Mooney said she was unsure whether any of the 13 people transported to local hospitals had been admitted as a result of the fumes.
The cast-iron pipe — which has reportedly been out of service since the 1940s — as well as water that had accumulated in the pipe, had retained the odor added as a precaution to natural gases, Mooney said. When crews opened the pipe, the odor was released.
PG&E workers quickly filled the pipe with sand as a means to quell the odor’s release, Mooney said.
Bay City News