Tulsa Crews Respond To Meth Lab Fire

Monday, March 2nd 2009, 12:51 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Firefighters battled a fire at what police say was a working meth lab in Brookside.  Six people were arrested and the neighbors had to evacuate.  It happened just a few houses away from Riverside on 37th Place.

Tulsa Police responded to a report of a strong chemical odor and presumed there was a meth lab.  They pulled up, started arresting people, and then the place caught fire.

The smoke from what police say was a meth lab spread through the neighborhood.  Police arrested five people within minutes of arriving and then noticed smoke coming from the garage.

"The situation is considered very hazardous inside there, there's lots of chemicals and we really shouldn't be breathing the air inside there," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.

But, one man was breathing the air in the garage.  Police say he crawled out of the smoke.  Firefighters treated him for smoke inhalation and he was taken to the hospital, where police say he'll be placed under arrest.

Authorities say the fire underscores the danger of meth labs.  And, it's not just a danger for the people making it, but for their neighbors as well.

As soon as the fire started, police rushed to evacuate the neighbors.  Lena Redmond lives next door.

"And, we were walking out the door and I saw police officers and people handcuffed on the ground and all of the sudden they were running people to the car and saying run, run, get as far away as possible," said Lena Redmond.

Firefighters put water on the fire from a distance because of the danger and the fire was quickly extinguished.

The police department then moved in to pull out evidence of what they say was an unusually large meth lab.

"This was one of the old type labs that takes more chemicals.  More product, but results in more product," said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham.

April Jones lives down the street and had no idea what her neighbors were doing.

"And to think two houses down, they have a meth lab on my street, is scary to me," said April Jones.

It took a couple of hours for the fire department to finish up and turn the scene over to police to start gathering evidence.  They brought out special investigators who process that kind of crime scene.

Tulsa fire officials say two people face arson charges while three others will be booked into jail on drug related charges.