Fire chief Harold Rogers had heard about meth labs and the hazards associated with finding them. But his department dealt with their first one Sunday, under a bridge.
Claxton Fire was dispatched to the Thick Creek bridge on the Daisy-Nevils Highway Sunday morning for a report of smoke.
"We got the call from somebody who thought the power pole nearby was on fire," he explained. "But it was one of the older pylons under the bridge. We got there and put out the fire, then found the pieces and realized what it was."
Rogers called for a hazardous materials team to dispose of the lab. They also put out a foam barrier on the water to contain any of the oily material that had leaked into the creek. Investigators with the Tri-Circuit Drug Task Force said Monday they've seen several portal labs dumped at bridges, possibly because they're harder to see by passing motorists. Overall, they've only seen "a couple" of meth labs in Evans County in the past three years.
But that figure is still too high for Chief Rogers.
"It was a learning lesson for us," he said. "We were there in all of our normal protective gear, but we weren't equipped for that."
"The thing that bothers me most is, even though that's a small creek, some kids may have come down there to go fishing or something. What if they didn't know what it was and started trying to open it? With all those chemicals, that could be a dangerous situation."
Investigators said Monday they have some leads from the pieces of the lab. County road crews called in bridge inspectors Sunday afternoon, who said the replacement pylons were holding the bridge's weight already. The bridge was reopened Sunday evening.
Anyone with information on this lab is asked to call the Evans County Sheriff's office at 912.739.1611 or the Tri-Circuit Drug Task Force at 912.739.0500.
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:38 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:38:31 GMT
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