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Meth Lab Explodes In NM

By Staff | Oct 15, 2014

New Martinsville Police Department, along with West Virginia State Police, are still investigating a Sunday night explosion and ensuing fire that resulted from a meth lab, located at 28 Rose Street Lot 32 North AAA Mobile Court.

Detective Donnie Harris of NMPD stated that there are three, possibly four, individuals involved. “We are looking for a fourth person,” he noted. “We know the identity, but we are first sending everything to the prosecutor.” Harris stated that this individual is not a threat to the public in any way.

Detective Harris stated that regarding the three other individuals, two females suffered minor injuries from the explosion; the third, a male, was burned over 60 percent of his body. This individual was flown to West Penn Burn center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

It is noted that this individual originally presented himself to Wetzel County Hospital, which had to be shutdown. “Of course, they had to secure the doctors and nurses that were involved in the stuff before it was decontaminated,” Harris noted. “It kept them from seeing patients.”

As to the future of the mobile home, Harris stated the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources would have to make the determination. Harris said the police “definitely know it was a meth lab.”

“There was an explosion for certain,” he added. “The officers on scene tried to keep the fire under control until the fire department arrived and put it out.” Harris stated the officers were not sure what they were dealing with at first, however. He stated that the officers were treated and decontaminated and have not shown any meth-related health issues yet.

In a news release, New Martinsville Fire Department Chief Larry Couch noted that firefighters began to attack the fire in the laundry room/bathroom of the mobile home and immediately began to notice that this was not a typical fire. Couch reported that crews immediately identified common drug paraphernalia and recognized the remnants of an alleged “shake and bake”-style meth lab.

No doubt the firefighters were able to make that determination as the NMVFD had hosted a meth-lab specific training earlier this year.

Couch stated that firefighters were notified of the explosion and fire at 10:29 p.m. and were on scene at 10:34 p.m.; they left the scene at 12:30 a.m. Couch stated that 16 firefighters responded. The fire was contained to the room of origin and was controlled within two minutes of the first fire crew’s arrival.

Couch noted that three firefighters and two police officers were contaminated with the remnants of the alleged lab and were all decontaminated at the scene and again at Wetzel County Hospital. Couch stated that all of the firefighters’ equipment, including hose, air packs, bunker gear, gloves, helmets, portable radios, thermal imaging camera, and more had to be decontaminated.

“The thing that is so frustrating is that these people have no respect for themselves nor anyone else” said Couch. “They are either making this garbage to use, to sell, or both and they don’t care who they hurt along the way.

“Meth labs are lethal, plain and simple,” he added. “They affect not only the people involved in making the meth, they affect everyone in close proximity, from the explosions to the hazardous materials,” Couch said.

Detective Harris stated no children were involved in the situation.

Also, Detective Harris urges the public to contact local law enforcement “if anybody suspects a neighbor or know of anyone that is operating a meth lab.”