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Residents Complain of Mysterious Foul Odor in Orange County

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is investigating a chemical odor that spread throughout Orange County on Thursday night, officials said.

Residents from Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda described the smell various ways. Some said it smelled like lighter fluid, burnt plastic or paint thinner.

“We dispatched our inspectors,” said Patrick Chandler, a spokesperson for the AQMD. “They’re in the area investigating and monitoring to determine the source.”

Air quality inspectors are working to obtain samples in order to determine what is causing the odor, he said. Sometimes, however, by the time inspectors arrive at the scene, the odor has dissipated, he said.

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