County officials investigate Compton chemical spill that had Long Beach residents complaining about feeling sick

County officials say they are investigating the cause of a chemical spill that left several Long Beach residents feeling sick earlier this morning.

According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, a chemical spill at Plaskolite Inc., a plastic fabrication company located in Compton, was responsible for the strong odor that was affecting residents in the North, West and Central Long Beach area. Some people said they could smell the odor all the way to Alamitos Beach. 

Over 200 complaints were received in connection to the event, according to the AQMD. It is unclear how many were from Long Beach residents, but at least 20 people called the Long Beach Fire Department to report the smell, LBFD Cpt. Jack Crabtree said. 

Bixby Knolls resident Mary Marroquin was one of the people who woke sometime between 4 and 8 a.m. due to an “intense” smell that was permeating people’s homes.

“I got lightheaded and dizzy,” said Marroquin, who described it as smelling like burnt rubber. “The smell got so intense I had to put on a mask.”

After South Coast AQMD began receiving reports of the smell around 5:15 a.m., they deployed a team of inspectors to investigate the cause, South Coast AQMD spokesperson Kim White said in a statement this afternoon.

The air quality agency also brought on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the hazardous materials team to look into the chemical spill.

“The spill has been contained and on-site cleanup efforts will continue throughout the afternoon,” White said. “The cause of the chemical spill and possible enforcement action will be assessed at the conclusion of this investigation.”

South Coast AQMD did not immediately disclose what kind of chemical was spilled. The smell dissipated by the afternoon.

UPDATE: Carson mayor now says foul odor due to leaking pipeline, calls for investigation

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Fernando Haro is the Long Beach Post's breaking news and public safety reporter.
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