1. #1
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    Question Meth Lab Encounters w/Fire Service

    Hello out there,
    I have a question regarding Fire Service personnel encountering fire calls with possible meth lab exposure, has any other dept's encountered this situation yet?......I'm a Asst. Fire Chief in local Northern New Hampshire town and we had our first exposure to a lab and needless to say it was an eye opener with the involvement of chemicals found..........Please relate anything you may know about this, thank you in advance.

    searle06

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    searle06; Meth labs are a nationwide problem. In my area, Louisville KY, they are especially numerous. Of course all situations/scenes are different, but for the most part once a scene is discovered to be a working meth lab, hazmat crews are called immediately.

    By the way, you might have better luck posting this in the firefighter forum, unless it's related to fire investigation.

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    We treat ALL meth labs as a Haz-Mat scene.

    We have encountered several. Both rolling labs and those set up in apartments and single family residences. Most of the time we are called by law enforcement, as they were the ones that typically uncover them.

    So far as I know, we haven't yet had one involved in a fire. God help us when we do without knowing ahead of time it's a lab!




    Kevin
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    Great timing! I attended a seminar earlier today that discussed the hazards of meth labs. It was enlightening to hear the distinct hazards of the red phosphorus labs compared to the anhydrous ammonia lab (I am sure I spelled something wrong... but I am too lazy to rin a spell check). If it is red, it will likely have no smell but can kill you. If it smells, it could blow up and kill you. Great choices there! I am now running through my mind all of the runs I can think of to try and remember if I have seen anything that we saw in the class today. I have had meth lab training before, but most of what we were shown in those were more "professional" lab set ups... not ones using pop bottles, plastic gasoline containers and fire extinguishers!
    Last edited by MetalMedic; 02-26-2006 at 11:58 PM.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    You are very fortunate not to have as big as a problem as we have in our area. There isn't hardly a day that does by that another lab was discovered (mobile or stationary) here. To anyone who is interested in learning of these hazards, which all emergency service personnel should, take any classes you can get into. Reading about it is one thing, taking a class tends to be much more enlightening as it usually does.

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    I have had the unfortunate oportunity to have been to several meth lab fires. And I think one of the scariest things I have found are the anhydrous vessals after being exposed to fire. We contact the state pollice lab team and they come and remove everything and shoot holes in the tanks so they cant be used again . were in the country here so the shooting is acceptable we just put water on the tanks while they do it to suppress vapors. My most recent experience was this winter on a 2 story wood frame heavy smoke pushing from the soffits and 2nd story windows. My sargent and I made the stairs and the lab was right at the top of the stairs in front of the double windows. We didnt know it was there but it was what was on fire along with some dressers and contents of a couple closets and junk on the floor. I shot the windows with a straight stream to vent so I could get up the stairs and when it cleared we could see the materials and a burnt up hot plate with camp fuel containers every where. Sorry to ramble but it makes me mad, the home owner ran out before we got there and told the neighbor to call 911 before she left. 2nd fire there in 6 months.

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    Post Regarding Meth Labs

    Well, I see that there have been quite a few incidents already and appreciate the fact of everyone sharing. Here in Northern New Hampshire, we are a laid back community where alot of the people are not up to speed with the current issues. I myself living in cities and working for law enforcement/military prior to moving here have given me quite an insight into what the real world is all about. I am currently going through a state Hazmat Tech cert. and this was a part of our discussion. Like I said, we've had our first encounter and I myself being on a regional HAZMAT team, it was an eye opener for many of the people up here. The law enforcement agencies up here get overwhelmed with drug info calls but we don't have the resources to track all complaints down. In the area we're at, we have no police dept. just the local state who's about 45 to 60 mins away. My concern as a senior officer is that I have many firefighters who respond to calls in their POV directly to the call scene. I'm afraid that one of my firefighters is going to get on scene first and get themselves into a situation with this stuff. I plan on sitting down with my men this coming Wed at our meeting and have a discussion on this since many of my people have no awareness of this. Keep the replies coming and agina appreciate your insight in this growing concern. Wish you all to be safe and if anyone has any other info available to provide, please do..............Take care and be safe.

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