Mysterious, Gas-Like Odor Reported In North County

Lifeguards in Encinitas were first to report the strong, pungent odor at about 5 p.m. The odor was described as a gas-like smell rolling in off the ocean.

Soon after, 10News was flooded with calls. Residents from the coast all the way to Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch reported experiencing the smell. Some complained of headaches and outdoor activities were canceled.

One Del Mar resident who did not want to be identified was inside the library in Cardiff at about 5 p.m. when the gas-like odor filled the entire building with the doors closed.

“There was none when I walked in that door and within 10 minutes, the entire library was filled,” she said.

Eventually, she got in her car and drove to try and get away from the smell. At about 5:30 p.m., the woman parked at San Dieguito County Park and took a photo of what she believes is some kind of aerosol compound she says fell from the sky and coated her car windows.

“I tried to wipe it and it was black and sticky and tried to put my window down and it smeared,” she said.

She is convinced it was gas that was dispersing something with an oil component.

She feels what occurred Tuesday was no accident and wants the people responsible to answer up.

“It’s just not acceptable to say, ‘We don’t know, nobody knows’… which we’ve heard over the years time and time again when these things happen,” she said.

The source of the odor remains unclear. San Diego Gas & Electric is investigating and has reported no problems. Fire departments in the North County have also not found any leaks.

Late Tuesday night, 10News received a statement from the City of Solana Beach that read, “Please do not be alarmed. The apparent smell of gas reported from Oceanside to La Jolla is not a leak of gas. The smell is caused by natural occurring condition from the ocean.”