Local News

Crews investigate strong chemical odor on east side

MADISON, Wis. - Emergency crews investigated a strong chemical odor on Madison's east side Wednesday afternoon, according to a release.

Crews were called to the 800 block of East Johnson Street around 12:40 p.m. for reports of vapor that smelled like paint thinner coming from a storm drain, officials said. Business owners in the area also said the smell permeated their basements.

Firefighters found a white haze coming from the storm drain slightly west of 809 E. Johnson St. and asked the Hazardous Incident Team to help identify the substance, according to the release.

Crews eventually determined the chemical to be styrene, officials said. The levels of styrene found in the air were deemed not harmful.

According to the release, a construction and engineering company had been lining sewers in the neighborhood, and an employee said the chemical was disposed of in a drain approximately four blocks away from where crews were investigating.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Madison Engineering Division were called to investigate any runoff or environmental concerns, officials said.

No illnesses or injuries were reported during the incident.

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