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Monday, January 08, 2007

Dozens of Birds Found Dead in Texas

Police shut down 10 blocks in Austin Texas because dozens of birds were found dead in the streets.

So far, word is that no dangerous chemicals were found in the air in preliminary tests.

As many as 60 dead pigeons, sparrows and grackles were found overnight along Congress Avenue, a main route through downtown. No human injuries or illnesses were reported.

"We do not feel there is a threat to the public health," said Adolfo Valadez, the medical director for Austin and Travis County Health and Human Services. He said preliminary air-quality tests showed no dangerous chemicals and the area should reopen around noon.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said officials had no credible information to suggest any imminent threat to the city.

On Congress Avenue, just outside the state Capitol, emergency workers donned yellow hazardous-material suits Monday morning, and dozens of fire trucks and ambulances were parked nearby.

Workers were testing for any sort of environmental contaminant or gas or chlorine leaks that might have cause the bird deaths, said police spokeswoman Toni Chovanetz. At least one bird carcass was being tested locally for other possible causes, and other carcasses were shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas A&M University.

Valadez said the tests on the dead birds would likely take several days and look for signs of poisoning or viral infections, though he said officials do not think bird flu is involved.

A 10-block stretch of Congress Avenue, several side streets and all buildings in the area were shut down and declared off-limits as a precaution, Chovanetz said.

The street closure stretched from just outside the Capitol to a section of the Colorado River known as Town Lake. The Capitol opened on schedule Monday, the day before the legislative session was to begin.

Despite what preliminary tests have shown, one has to wonder what the hell killed these birds, all in the same place, on the same day. Something isn't right.

I plan on keeping my eye on this because there has to be a reason and I am VERY curious as to what it is.

Then in New York there were transit delays and evacuations because of a pervasive gas odor running through Manhattan and parts of New Jersey.

Law enforcement sources told that this does not appear to be an act of terror.

"It is still early but there is no indication of terrorism and there is no credible intelligence to suggest any imminent threat to the homeland or to New York at this time," said Russ Knocke, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

He said the agency is closely monitoring the situation and talking with the local authorities, who are the lead in the matter.

Four city schools were evacuated due to the smell, but have since been let back in. PATH service had been suspended into the 33rd Street station as a result of the odor, although the service has since been restored.

The Macy's flagship store on 34th Street did not open until 10 a.m. The store said employees who had arrived earlier were allowed to leave the building if they chose.

"The smell was very strong. It was very scary," said Yolanda Van Gemd, an administrator at ASA, a business school at Broadway and 34th Street, which was evacuated as a precaution.

The Fire Department began getting calls about the odor around 9 a.m., said spokesman Tim Hinchey.

Residents and workers between Midtown and Battery Park said they could smell the odor, which was also prevalent in New Jersey.

Susan Badger, a retiree who lives in Chelsea, said she smelled the gas in the morning and left the apartment building at 27th Street and Eighth Avenue to escape the smell.

"If it's throughout the whole city, it seems that it must be a lot of gas. It's really extreme," she said.

Badger initially worried it was coming from another apartment. "It could explode somewhere," she said.

Bobby Gonzalez, a maintenance worker at the same building, said, "We noticed it right away. It smelled like gas."

"People are calling left and right from the building, they want to know what is going on."

Just things that make me go....hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Gas in New York and birds die in Texas.

Tracked back by:
Mystery Odor Brings Out Police and Fire from A Blog For All...