Unusual Smell Prompts High Volume of 911 Calls in NW Indiana


An unusual sulfur-like odor reported across Lake, LaPorte, and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana sparked a wave of concerned residents calling 911. The source of the smell was initially believed to be a natural gas leak in Porter County, according to the Michigan City Fire Department. However, even after several hours, the leak remained unresolved. Law enforcement agencies and fire departments in the area were alerted to the spreading odor, suspected to originate from the oil refinery and steel mills in Lake County. Dispatch centers were overwhelmed with calls, prompting officials to request residents to refrain from calling 911 regarding the odor.

Investigation by NIPSCO:

NIPSCO, the gas and electric utility serving most of Northwest Indiana, received notifications about the smell of natural gas in multiple locations, including Beverly Shores, Michigan City, and Long Beach. However, after dispatching supervisors and service workers to investigate, NIPSCO determined that the smell was not gas-related. Despite efforts, the utility remained uncertain about the exact source of the odor, leaving the community in search of answers.

Updates from Local Authorities: The Lake Station Fire Department reported that the smell began dissipating around 8:52 p.m., alleviating immediate concerns of danger. However, individuals with asthma or breathing issues were advised to remain indoors as a precautionary measure. As the situation continued to unfold, authorities stressed the importance of monitoring official updates and following guidelines to ensure public safety.

Request for Public Cooperation:

With emergency dispatch centers inundated by the influx of calls, multiple law enforcement agencies and fire departments implored residents to refrain from dialing 911 specifically about the odor. The excessive number of calls hindered emergency response efforts and strained resources that could be crucial for addressing other emergencies. Instead, officials urged individuals to stay informed through official channels and exercise patience while authorities worked diligently to identify the source of the odor.


The unusual sulfur-like smell that permeated across Lake, LaPorte, and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana triggered a surge of 911 calls. Despite initial suspicions of a natural gas leak, investigations by NIPSCO confirmed that the odor was unrelated to gas. The exact source of the smell remained unknown, but local authorities assured residents that the dissipating odor posed no immediate danger. The community was urged to follow updates from official sources and reserve emergency calls for situations requiring immediate assistance, allowing responders to address the ongoing issue effectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *