Farm chemical creates strong smell and concern in Hillsborough - WFLA News Channel 8

Farm chemical creates strong smell and concern in Hillsborough County

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Steve Martin, was outside today, despite a strong odor in his Dover neighborhood.

Martin says, " It smells like you have a gas leak."

In some parts of his neighborhood, the smell was overpowering on Thursday, Martin worried about it Wednesday evening, "In fact we were going to call the gas company it was so strong last night that we were concerned. In fact, I went around and checked my own tanks."

Tampa Fire Rescue says they started getting calls to 9-1-1 dispatch around 8:00 A.M. Thursday morning.

Tampa Fire Chief Tom Forward said, "The first alarm came in at 8:06 this morning, because we were getting multiple calls from as far away east as 50-th street and I-4, to South Tampa and Howard and those areas, obviously we dispatched multiple units with sniffer units, co2 units and gas meters."

After a day of investigation, Tampa Fire Rescue now says the smell is caused by a chemical known as Paladin.

Paladin in a chemical fumigant that is used on strawberry farms.

Tampa Fire Rescue said, "Environmental investigators have confirmed that the odorous smell was from a release of the chemical Paladin. This chemical pesticide was used in eastern Hillsborough County by strawberry growers. Product application is expected to be ongoing for another week. Detectable fumes and odors have diminished significantly, and residents in the City of Tampa have not been directly exposed or in any immediate danger."

Steve Martin isn't happy about that, "Folks here that got COPD, bad health, the EPA suggested to our next door neighbor that they stay inside. Well, these are homes, we shouldn't have to stay inside."

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