Strong smell of ‘dead animal’ impacting businesses north of Pearl

Natural gas leak contributing to stench; officials admit danger risk

SAN ANTONIO – Some people who work near the Pearl say business is down, and it has nothing to do with their products. Instead, a strong stench has taken over parts of the area, turning people away.

“We noticed it last Thursday. It got worse Friday and Saturday. Staff said it was really bad. Monday, you could taste it,” said Ona Powell, who works at Jackson Hewitt on Broadway. “Kind of smells like a dead animal over here.”

Others described the area smelling like sewage or gas.

“I thought it was natural gas. We call natural gas. They said it’s not,” said Alex Walia, store owner of J&G liquor store.

The funk did not only wreaking havoc on appetites but also caused safety concerns, especially since the smell is even worse inside J&G liquor store.

“I mean, everything is flammable,” Walia said.

At Jackson Hewitt, Powell has taken steps, such as spraying air freshener and lighting incense, to try to mask the smell. She said it has gotten so bad she's sending customers to other locations so the Broadway location won't get bad reviews.

CPS Energy officials say crews scanned the area and found a small natural gas leak from a broken boiler. The utility company admitted there is a risk of danger, but it said it will cut the gas service to the customer until repairs can be made.

CPS Energy said keeping the area safe is its top priority.

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The utility company said another contributor to the smell is a sewage rehab that’s being done by San Antonio Water System.

SAWS officials say they don’t believe the smell is related to any of their construction projects. They said crews will continue to investigate.