03/27/2014 11:37 EDT | Updated 05/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Stinky smell briefly wafts over Kamloops, prompting deluge of worried calls

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - If pulp mill odours in British Columbia are occasionally described as the smell of money, a lot of cash was wafting over Kamloops Wednesday night.

Assistant fire chief Jeff Bell says his department and the Kamloops RCMP detachment were deluged with calls about a nasty stink blanketing the southern Interior city.

Callers reported a natural gas smell but Bell says it was quickly traced to the Domtar pulp mill, just west of the downtown core, directly across the Thompson River from a residential area.

Domtar (TSX:DTC) officials told Bell the mill released what is known as non-condensable gas, a mostly-sulfurous substance, produced when making kraft pulp and paper.

The gas is usually burned off in a boiler but Bell says it was released without completing that process on Wednesday evening.

The stench has dissipated but he says even though the concentrations did not appear harmful, the incident worried many people. (CHNL)