Reported meth lab turns out to be paint stripper instead

Wife reports husband trying to blow up house

Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alaska State Troopers were called to the site of a possible clandestine methamphetamine lab Tuesday afternoon at the 6800 block of Leslie Avenue and, after entry, determined that the initial complaint had been wrong. There was no meth lab, just newly painted furniture.

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Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

"We had a suspected meth lab inside," a state trooper sergeant on scene stated. "We cleared the residence and found nothing to indicate the presence of a lab."

The Juneau Police Department had first secured the area after receiving a phone call at 12:02 a.m. Tuesday from a 34-year-old female who had reported her husband was trying to blow up the house with a possible meth lab.

JPD officers and the Capital City Fire and Rescue's newly established Hazmat team were quickly on scene. Due to the smell of chemicals, neighboring residents were asked to evacuate. JPD Drug Investigation Unit and state trooper drug unit arrived next.

The 35-year-old male who lives at the residence was stopped at 2:20 a.m. Tuesday on Glacier Highway near mile 7. He was detained, brought to JPD and released.

The male said the chemical smell was from fluid used to strip paint from an old chair.

Names of the husband and wife were not released as no charges were filed or criminal actions cited.

Fire chief Eric Mohrmann stated the Level A Hazmat Team has been operational for six months after over two years of development, training and acquisition of proper equipment.

Level A response is a full encapsulation for materials that can be absorbed through the skin, air or ingested; so full encapsulation is required, such as self-contained breathing apparatus. Level B would be one step below and include covering exposed skin for protection. Level C would be similar to splash protection and use of a respirator.

"Our team is trained for any and all hazards," Mohrmann commented. "We would work in conjunction with either the state troopers or local police."

A strange chemical smell or strong smell of ammonia is typical of meth lab types. The public is encouraged to call Juneau's state trooper post, police department or Capital City Fire and Rescue if any suspicions are warranted.

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at

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