Officers Recover After Inhaling Meth Lab Fumes

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 9:50 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Several Tulsa police officers needed oxygen Monday night after breathing in fumes during a meth lab bust.

Those officers were back at work Tuesday and described what it was like to walk into a thick white cloud of chemicals.

When the officers got out of their cars at the apartment near 17th Street and Denver Avenue, they could smell the chemicals.

Some went to the front to knock, while others went around back. That's when they saw and heard one suspect destroying evidence.

"At that time, we're hearing glass beakers being tossed on the floor and in the toilet," Officer Kyle Murray said.

The breaking glass also meant the chemicals were released into the air, creating a dangerous vapor.

"Really thick white cloud, you can see it coming," Officer Richard Urban said. "As soon as he opened the bathroom door, it flowed out."

They got instant headaches. Their sinuses were burning, eyes watering and they started coughing immediately.

The officers accept this kind of exposure is part of the job, but worry about their families.

"(I worry about) how much stays in our clothing, is on the bottom of our shoes," Officer Chris O'Keefe said. "I sometimes worry about not getting it on myself, but what I'm bringing home to the kids."

Police arrested brothers Michael and John Jarosz. They say no matter how dangerous cooking meth is, these people will not stop because the addiction is so powerful.

"These people will do anything to get it, steal from their families, their mothers, whatever it takes to get it," Officer Darren Shipley said.

A training video shows how the volatile chemicals break down the plastic pop bottles meth is made in and how quickly the acids and solvents can start a fire.

That fire burns hot and fast and can destroy everything it comes it touches in no time.

Officers want everyone to know meth made in pop bottles does not explode. While making the training video, they did everything to try to make it explode and couldn't.

What it does is spark inside the container, breach the plastic and then fire starts.

A captain says there's fire in the bottle, so when it gets out, it causes a fire.

5/4/2009  Related Story: Two Arrested Following Tulsa Meth Lab Bust