The City of Houston investigating strange smell reported in several areas

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The source of an odor that wafted over the city Monday is still being investigated, but it is not considered a public health threat, according to authorities. City officials assure the public that plans are in place if a dangerous substance is detected in the air.

Ruy Lozano, spokesman for the Houston Fire Department said the city's office of emergency management regularly monitors air quality and if a threat was present they would issue a shelter-in-place order.

"These mechanisms are in place that we can deploy at anytime. We are just fortunate in this particular case there was no cause for concern," Lozano said.

He said large fires have caused dangerous situations in the past.

"We've had situations where we had fires with significant smoke plumes that could cause some irritation or we have issued a shelter in place orders," he said. "If there was cause for concern you would immediately get notifications about shelter in place orders"

Those shelter-in-place orders would come with detailed instructions about what to do.

The city works with the National Weather Service to map and track the wind to find out which areas would be most at risk.

"We give you what areas and boundaries to define those geographic areas that need to shelter in place. Plus, instructions on what it means to shelter in place."

HFP works with the office of emergency management to send out AlertHouston notifications to smart phones and email addresses. They also contact the media to get the word out.

The Houston Emergency Notification System automatically dials landline phones in a given area when a warning is issued. However, mobile phones and phones connected through cable or satellite internet services must be registered through the OEM website to get the alerts.

Residents can also sign up to receive AlertHouston email notifications at

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