Wichita firefighters respond to more than 900 reports of gas leaks a year.
But when they arrive, they usually can't find the source and the smell is gone.
Firefighters found leaks on only about 21 percent of the 2,565 reports people called in since 2008.
Nine of those involved explosions; the others were ruptures or leaks.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Deputy Chief Ron Aaron said the city used to plug leaks, but now it evacuates people if necessary and calls the gas companies.
"We're going to err on the side of safety," he said. "Even if we don't smell it we'll do all we can to track it down and contact the gas company."
Tracking leaks outside is the most difficult, but the department's hazardous materials team has equipment that can detect gas if necessary.
Aaron said anyone who smells the rotten egg odor that companies infuse the gas with should get out of their home immediately and call 911 from a safe location.
—Brent D. Wistrom