NEWS10 Special Report: An inside look into meth labs - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

NEWS10 Special Report: An inside look into meth labs


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The first meth lab in Saratoga County was found this October. It's a problem some thought we were free of.

The meth lab was located inside of a congested mobile home park.

Technical Sergeant Douglas Wildurmuth and his officers with the Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team discovered Saratoga County's first methamphetamine lab.

It is a dangerous site to live near when you consider what can happen when things go wrong.

"If lithium ends up burning inside this vessel, inside of this one pot it'll burn through this plastic," explained Wildurmuth, "The whole entire container can go up in flames."

It's called the one pot method, a popular way to make the highly addictive drug, crystal meth.

"You can take a lot of the chemicals and put it into some sort of vessel," says Wildurmuth.

Pressure can build in that vessel, which could be a regular soda bottle, causing a fiery scene.

Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy explained "They can explode; they are very, very volatile.  They can cause fires, can cause damage, they can kill based on the explosion."

It's exactly what Wildurmuth wants to prevent at a meth lab like the one found in Greenfield.

"We don't want to risk any of our members health and well-being," he explained, "while being especially being near chemicals in the labs where they are at."

In order to go inside of a lab, Wildurmuth and his team have to suit up. They are specially trained and wear self-contained breathing apparatuses, two layers of gloves, rubber boots, and chemically resistant tape, sealing in every crevice so that no chemicals can seep in.

With all the protective gear on Wildurmuth and his team only have a short time to work to prevent scenes that can be deadly.

"He might only spend 20 to 30 minutes down range before we have to take him out," he said.

During a mock methamphetamine lab, Wildurmuth found things that many people already have in their house. Empty bottles, a container of drain-o, batteries, and cold medicine are all used to make this dangerous drug and a potentially dangerous scene.

"We know the smoke from this cook lab can cause brain damage and nerve damage," explained Murphy."

Suiting up and cleaning the mess of household goods doesn't come cheap either. Murphy estimates the most recent lab found in the county could cost taxpayers more than $10,000 to clean up.

Now State Police are looking to you to help identify labs and dumpsites, that's how the lab in Saratoga County was identified, after a neighbor smelled a foul odor.

In the state of New York in 2011, State Police responded to 45 meth labs. That number skyrocketed to 127 in 2012.

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