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Mystery stench baffles New York investigators

January 09, 2007|From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — Authorities were investigating the cause of a mysterious sulphurous stench Monday that wafted over Manhattan and parts of New Jersey, prompting building evacuations and disrupting mass transit.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told nervous New Yorkers that there was no indication the air was unsafe to breathe. A Homeland Security official said there was no sign of terrorism.

Officials tracked the smell to New Jersey. "We think it emanates somewhere between Secaucus and Jersey City," said an environmental protection official. The Fire Department began getting calls about the odor about 9 a.m., a spokesman said. Some commuter train service between New Jersey and Manhattan was suspended. People reported the smell from the northern tip of Manhattan down to Greenwich Village and across the Hudson River to New Jersey.

While New Yorkers worried about the smell, a large part of downtown Austin, Texas, was shut down after dozens of dead birds were found near the state Capitol. Preliminary air-quality tests showed no dangerous chemicals, officials said.

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