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Commissioner cites different source for Tampa odor

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

An odor in Tampa initially attributed to a pesticide is getting a different assessment from the head of the state's agriculture department.

"It's under investigation but the early indications are that the application of the fumigant in the Plant City (area) is not the cause of the smell in downtown Tampa," said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam during a visit to Tampa on Friday. "It appears to have been caused by a fire at an asphalt plant."

There was a fire at a Blacklidge Emulsions plant on East Second Avenue in the Ybor City area early Wednesday morning that burned air pollution control equipment, said Jerry Campbell, director of Air Management for the Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission.

Some complaints of a sulfur smell in the Palmetto Beach area on Wednesday were attributed to that incident, but other reports of an odor in Tampa were attributed to the paladin, a pesticide used by strawberry farmers in eastern Hillsborough County.

The latest word from the Department of Agriculture now raises more questions about the source of the smell that caused some residents to fear a gas leak, and confusion over how it was attributed.

Initial confirmation on the paladin came from the Department of Agriculture, a city of Tampa spokeswoman said.

Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Lonnie Benniefield said the odor reported in Tampa is not the same as the odor that would have come from the asphalt plant, ruling that out as the source.

Commissioner Putnam said Thursday the issue is still under investigation.

The Department of Agriculture's responsibilities include investigating inappropriate applications of pesticides.

 

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