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Structure Fire Turned METH Lab or Vice Versa???

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  • Structure Fire Turned METH Lab or Vice Versa???

    We responded to a report of a Structure fire the other morning, nothing major right?, enroute we were advised that the house contained a Meth Lab...not the kind of words you want to hear! Has this happend to you before, lets here some stories!!! Thanks in advanced!
    James Bingham
    Lewis & Clark Fire District
    Astoria Oregon
    [email protected]

  • #2
    I bet the bystanders were running around in circles trying to shake the pink bunnies when you arrived.

    I have never come across this yet, but Clandestine Lab fire training courses are popping up all over the place up here. Mostly for grow ops as opposed to meth labs. When I was a boy my mother used to sell Fuller Brush Products for extra cash, but I guess this is the newest incarnation of the home business.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!



    • #3
      We got 'em too...........

      Fastest way I know to turn a "routine" house fire into a major incident. Our last drug lab is at www.gdvfd18.com On 12/23 we ran a call for an explosion and fire in a townhouse that was caused by improperly cooking a "controlled dangerous substance" on the kitchen stove. Several years back, during a VERY cold spell, we ran a call for water coming from a house, found water running out the garage door from a broken (frozen) water pipe. Going into the basement to shut off the water, we found a lab. That brought out the HazMat team, the cops, and a whole lot of other interested people. The occupant was not home, but arrived AFTER the street filled up with units from FD, PD, Etc. and was not bright enough to slip away again. Instead, he walked up to the house to see what was going on. D'oh, Off to the cop shop for a show and tell session. Stay Safe....
      Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
      In memory of
      Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
      Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

      IACOJ Budget Analyst

      I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.



      • #4
        There real common in my neck of the woods. Real
        bad stuff, every dept. needs at least a basic
        class on em. One thing we did down here, is our
        newfangled CAD system will let us know effen
        the law has ever been there adealing with meth.
        Watch out fer little junky campers and such
        out in the woods too.


        • #5
          My corner of the universe is covered up with the damn things. I've been on standby for several as they were dismantled, but only one structure fire so far.

          The S.O. got on scene just before we arrived and told us they suspected a clan lab when we pulled up. As it turned out, they did find boobytraps on site

          You could pretty well see through the house by the time we got the call, so there wasn't too much to worry about from a hazmat standpoint. We did manage to save the front porch and enough of the structure for the arson investigators to do their thing
          Last edited by ullrichk; 05-26-2003, 01:01 PM.

          a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for


          • #6
            My area has gotten bad with several houses containing meth labs. I decided to spend a night training on just meth labs. The worse thing to beware of in meth lab houses are the booby traps. Owners will rig anything to explode, shoot, stab or anything you can think of. Securtity systems are something else to keep an eye out for, namely very large aggressive dogs. Also remember to perserve the scene. do not flip light switches (could be a booby trap) open doors unless needed and be careful where you step. The home owners will usually leave everything behind if there is a fire, one of our neighboring depts went to a house fire that was started in the meth lab i believe. the owners left in such a hurry they left their child behind in the house. the child received large burns and was transported to a burn hospital an hour and a half away.

            another thing to remember is meth labs are not just contained to houses. meth labs are often kept in trunks of vehicles. that next mvc you roll to could have a meth lab in the trunk.

            be careful out there, folks.
            NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
            IACOJ Attack

            Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.


            • #7
              are standing order is we DO NOT ENTER. sorry for there luck but are command after a such fire as seen it not-safe to enter Barren Co is geting vary vary vary bad. we will fight it out side and with deck guns.


              • #8
                Ryan you bring up a great point about Meth labs in trunks...we responded to a TC that was a result of a police pursuit..One Haz-Mat team and several hours later we all got to go home but it could of easily been a big boom and frontpage news on Firehouse.com....Stay Safe


                • #9
                  I have never been advised of a structure fire being a meth lab while enroute. However, during one fire, just after we pulled up, the OIC did his walk around while we were pulling lines and getting setup.

                  He came running from the back of the house and advised me and my partner prior to entry that he found signs of a meth lab in the back of the house.

                  We did a quick primary search and found no occupants. The OIC then decided that doing an interior attack would have been too risky and just directed us to protect exposure and perform exterior attack.

                  The house was lost, but I was grateful because I was a bit worried about booby traps and chemicals that could eat through our protective gear.

                  Probably not the best way to handle it, but I was just following orders. Would I have done something different, probably not.


                  • #10
                    Lets be careful out there!

                    This stuff is rampant in our area, it's a nightmare. There's some great info in this thread but you need to get at least awareness training available free thru many sources these days. I'm a rural volunteer so I am sharing info from that perspective.

                    1.) The little abandoned campers or even mobile homes are perfect lab locations but they will cook any where they can. I've seen them right out in the open woods with no structure about so wildland fire operations are not immune from this hazard. Mobile labs and labs in cheap motels are getting to be the trend now in our area.

                    2.) Awareness is half the battle in dealing with this stuff. When I'm out driving our back roads I pay attention to detail. Odors from Anhydrous Ammonia and other chemicals are often easily detected when these morons are operating nearby. I watch unauthorized trash dumps for Red Devil lye cans and camping fuel cans in unusual quantity. I'm not trying to be a cop just staying aware enough to keep myself and fellow fire fighters safe. I let the cops do their job when there is evidence of activity in the area. I also look for this type of material when we first pull up on scene. Recently one idiot was hastily kicking coleman fuel cans out the back door of his trailer when the sheriff arrived to arrest him. There was enough there to make a hell of an explosion.

                    3.) Traps are a real hazard, right up to pipe bombs loaded with nails. No structure is worth exposing our people to that kinda hazard. Our instructor showed us a hot plate with the control switch wired so it set off an explosive device when it was turned off.

                    4.) Saddest part watch out for kids left behind when these morons bail out of a burning structure and their to stoned to know or care. There has been many cases of them being arrested with toddlers sitting right beside their lab.

                    Anyway, lets stay aware and safe, thats the view from here.


                    • #11
                      One of the disturbing trends that we have been made aware of is that firefighting equipment is being used by these people. For example PPE helps them from being injured in the event of an explosion. The bottom line is that you have to reexamine your security measures at the firehouse and remain vigilant for strange activity around your hall.


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