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Foul odor pervades Southern California, prompting 911 calls

September 10, 2012 | 11:22 am

Some are speculating that the odor is caused by the annual die-off of fish at the Salton Sea, shown above in May.

What's that mystery odor?

Residents in parts of Southern California have been complaining Monday about a distinct sulphur or rotten-egg smell in the air.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said his department has received hundreds of phone calls — including some to 911 — about the odor, which he said has been detected from the Palm Springs area to Simi Valley.

Officials said the department has called the Air Quality Management District.

"They are aware of the odor and are investigating," Humphrey said. "We are not aware of any specific hazard associated" with the odor.

There has been some speculation that the odor is caused by the Salton Sea, where the annual die-off of fish often causes a foul smell. But the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that officials at the Salton Sea said they don't think the die-off is responsible and that air quality officials are investigating.

The smell was most pronounced in parts of the Inland Empire, which is upwind from the Salton Sea.

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— Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Some are speculating that the odor is caused by the annual die-off of fish at the Salton Sea, shown above in May. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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