File Photo | Photo: Nicor Gas

Firefighters in Spring Grove and Richmond responded to over 20 calls for natural gas leaks or odors Tuesday after Nicor performed work on a transmission station in the area.

The Richmond Township Fire Protection District first responded around 11:56 a.m. Tuesday to Richmond Grade School, 5815 Broadway Road, for a report of an odor investigation.

Firefighters arrived and met with school officials who reported a smell of natural gas at the rear of the building near the boiler room.

The school had been evacuated prior to the fire department’s arrival, fire officials said.

Fire crews checked the building using metering equipment and detected trace levels of natural gas in the boiler room and surrounding maintenance rooms.

Nicor Gas was called to the scene and crews were able to isolate the affected area and ventilate it, fire officials said.

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The school district closed the building for the remainder of the day and the Richmond Police Department assisted with traffic control for dismissal.

Fire crews were leaving the scene around 1:15 p.m. when they received three calls for reports of natural gas in homes in Richmond.

Fire officials said crews investigated the reports and Nicor was requested to two of the three homes for follow-up.

One of the homes had a possible leak in a supply to the water heater. The other two homes had no natural gas detected.

Following the four incidents, Richmond and Spring Grove firefighters to 18 additional calls in the two towns for gas odors.

Nicor said in a statement Tuesday evening that crews had been conducting routine work at a transmission station in the Richmond area.

An increased amount of the odorant mercaptan was detected.

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“Natural gas is naturally odorless. As a safety measure for detection, mercaptan is added, which gives natural gas an odor often associated with rotten eggs,” Nicor said.

“As a result, some residents in the area noticed the smell. This odor will naturally dissipate and poses no harm to the community,” the company added.

The Richmond Township Fire Protection District said residents are urged to have working carbon monoxide detectors in their homes and businesses.

Residents who suspect a natural gas leak are encouraged to call Nicor at 888-642-6748.