Mysterious smell plaguing California residents and sparking finger-pointing

VIDEO: News headlines today: Aug. 17, 2018PlayABCNews.com
WATCH News headlines today: Aug. 17, 2018

Residents of several Orange County, California cities are complaining about a strange, mysterious odor in the air -- and local municipal agencies seem to be pointing fingers at each other as to the cause of the bad smell.

The odor is affecting cities like Orange, Anaheim Hills, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, according to Patrick Chandler, spokesperson for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Residents are reporting smells similar to petroleum, paint thinner or butane in the air.

Capt. Tony Bommarito, a public information officer for Orange County Fire, told ABC News that a recent vector control spray for mosquitoes was "not the cause of the odor."

“The OC Vector Control did a targeted spray in a small area with a backpack sprayer," Bommarito said. "It was completely odorless and it’s not the cause of the odor that people have been reporting.”

A spokesperson for the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District concurred, saying “the spray is odorless.”

The ongoing investigation is now being handled by South Coast Air Quality Management, officials said.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article included the wrong title for Capt. Bommarito and incorrectly quoted him. We regret the error.

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