Route 5 has now reopened. Residents may return outdoors and resume normal activity.
Authorities have identified the source of an irritating odor that closed a portion of Route 5 for over 3 hours. It is a farm pesticide known as Chloropicrin.
The odor was reported by Charlie Woodruff, owner of Overhead Door Company, when he and his employees reported work.
“I didn’t really smell anything, it was more of an irritant to the eye, my eyes were watering. I had no idea what it was,” Woodruff said.
Genesee County Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yeager sniffed out the source of the odor. It was a farm field near Overhead Door.
"The farmers told us they had been dispersing the chemical since Monday. There was an odor yesterday (Tuesday) and some discomfort was noticed.People just seemed to ignore because it came and went with the wind direction," Yearger said.
Chloropicrin has been used for over 75 years to control soil pests. It usually dissipates quickly, but carries a warning about eye irritation. Authorities said humid weather and lack of wind probably kept the chemical from dissipating as well as it should.
The Genesee County Emergency Management Office issued the following statement late this morning:
"Until further notice, residents in the Town of Batavia in the area bounded by the Hartshorn/Powers Roads, Stegman Road, Wortendyke Road and Pearl Street Road are to remain indoors due to an airborne irritant in the area. An agricultural fungicide was applied to a farm field in the area which, due to the current atmospheric conditions, did not dissipate as expected.Residents should keep doors, windows and vents closed during this time. Emergency crews are on the scene and working to abate the situation. An all clear message will be sent when it is safe to resume normal activities."
Emergency responders are still trying to locate the source of a chlorine or ammonia gas like odor along Route 5 in the Town of Batavia. Route 5 remains closed between Wortendyke and Hartshorn Roads.
Charlie Woodruff, owner of Overhead Door Co., said he noticed his eyes began to water shortly after he reported for work this morning.
“I didn’t really smell anything, it was more of an irritant to the eye, my eyes were watering. I have no idea what this is,” Woodruff said.
Two of Woodruff’s employees also complained of eye irriation. One was treated by Mercy EMS.
The public is being kept back from the area while the source of the odor is being investigated.
The Genesee County Emergency Management Team has established a staging area at First Choice Travel.
Route 5, West Main Rd., is now closed between Wortendyke and Hartshorn Roads. There have been some evacuations in the area.
First responders are investigating a strong odor of chlorine or ammonia in the vicinity of West Main Road between Hopkins and Powers.
The Town of Batavia fire department and Genesee County Emergency Management has been dispatched.
One person is reportedly being treated for eye irritation…3 others have complained of symptoms.
Homes in the immediate area have been evacuated as a precaution.
There has been no confirmation of any hazardous material leaking.