The odor of natural gas filled a large area of downtown Lake Wales on Monday afternoon from Central Avenue to Scenic Highway, floating down Stuart Avenue.
The strong odor alerted historic district businesses and The Lake Wales News to contact the Lake Wales Fire Department.
The Florida Public Gas has a functioning “lifttype station west of town where a pressure valve released the pressure buildup,” said Joe Jenkins, Lake Wales Fire Department deputy chief. “We knew it was west of town because we smelled it first and when we started getting telephone calls east of us we knew it was moving downtown.”
The fire department went out to the site and heard the pressure valves and smelled the source of the gas, Jenkins said.
“The gas company was sending out a technician to make sure the valves were working properly,” Jenkins said.
According to Jenkins, the valves release often and because the wind was out of the west Monday, the odor came into town. Jenkins attributed it to the cold weather in tripping the valve this time.
“The gas fluctuates in the pipes with the temperature and releases when it is building up pressure.”
Clarke Gerard, agent at Ewing, Blackwelder and Duce in the Peterson & Myers Building at 2 N. First St. and his staff noticed it right away around 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.
Diane Armington of Village Kitchen Shop said she didn’t have the odor when she was contacted at 4:20 p.m.
Staff at The Legacy Real Estate Center on Stuart Street smelled the gas odor, said Tootie Purdue, who had called the fire department because the odor was really strong on their second floor and she was given the same explanation.
By 4:30 p.m. the odor had dissipated.