Five Norco businesses evacuated due to “foul odor”

NORCO — Reports of a foul odor emanating from an overheated asphalt tank caused the evacuation of at least seventy-five people from five Norco businesses earlier yesterday, Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Although officials determined the “strong but unharmful” odor did not pose an immediate danger to those in the area, fire officials and Air Quality Management District officials warned that any residents or workers in the area with sensitivity to the odor were advised to stay indoors until the smell subsided.


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Cal Fire/Riverside County Firefighters responded to several reports of a strong, unusual odor in the 1830 block of 5th St. near Hamner Ave. shortly after 8 a.m., Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson Jody Hagemann later reported.

When firefighters arrived, they tracked the foul smell to an asphalt tank that overheated and was “off-gassing, creating the strong but unharmful odor, according to Hagemann.

Although no injuries were reported and none of those affected by the smell required hospitalization, firefighters, along with AQMD, Riverside County Environmental Health, County Office of the Fire Marshal and City of Norco remained on scene for the next several hours as the tank completed the off-gassing process.

During the hours-long process, at least five businesses self-evacuated due to the strong odor, Hagemann explained.

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he currently writes for or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, the (now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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