UPDATE (1:25 p.m.)—The odor of crude oil had reached Perry Hall by Friday morning. Baltimore County police confirmed that the smell, described as similar to natural gas, had spread from a major oil spill at a refinery in Paulsboro, New Jersey.
West Deptford Patch reported on Thursday that 6.6 million gallons had spilled into an emergency containment area of the Paulsboro Refining Company.
Patch's first that a related smell had reached Harford and Cecil counties early Friday morning.
"What people are smelling is the fumes. They are attempting to control it, but the wind is blowing it toward us," said Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County police spokeswoman.
Armacost emphasized that the smell was not a public health hazard and would likely dissipate when the wind changed direction.
Dennis M. Robinson, Jr., president of the Perry Hall Improvement Asociation, quipped in an email alert to residents: "Today is the only time you will ever hear me say that it 'stinks' to live in parts of Perry Hall."
Baltimore County was included in a conference call with Maryland Emergency Management Agency regarding the smell Friday afternoon, Armacost said.
Edward Hopkins, a MEMA spokesman, confirmed that a conference call was held, but said state officials were deferring to New Jersey government and the Paulsboro Refining Company for updates.
"Our hope is that as winds move in later this evening, it will be less of an annoyance to the public," Hopkins said.
Hopkins compared the situation to the strong smell that spread across Maryland in August of 2011 during a in Virginia.
When did you first smell it and where do you live? Tell us in the comments.