SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (News10) — Residents of a Schenectady apartment complex are now back in their homes after being evacuated on due to a suspected drug lab in one of the apartments. Schenectady Fire Chief Don Mareno shares how his HAZMAT team responds to situations like the one at the Netherlands Village apartment complex.
“There’s a lot that goes into your response because you don’t know what you’re dealing with,” said Mareno. As the chief he also oversees the city’s HAZMAT team which was one of several first responders on scene on Monday after they were called due to suspected drug lab. The intense situation began when deputies were serving an eviction notice and entered the apartment with the help of a maintenance worker. A search of the apartment revealed what the sheriff’s office is calling “laboratory equipment”. The sheriff says testing is being conducted to determine if any illegal drugs were detected.
It’s unclear if the apartment was being used as a drug lab, but things like meth labs have been the cause of explosions and fires in other communities across the country. And any hazardous situation is a serious concern for Mareno. “That was the number one concern when we got there. Did we have a perimeter set? Was it a wide enough perimeter? And what are the potential hazards and trying to plan for all the ‘what if’s’,” he added.
As for the residents of Netherlands Village apartment complex, several of them in neighboring units were evacuated over fears of possible hazardous materials. Brian Peck says the situation caused him to miss a day’s work. “Oh yeah. I missed work yesterday because of it. I couldn’t get in my apartment,” said Peck. He told News10’s Anya Tucker that he waited 12 hours until being allowed back into the complex. Sheriff Dominic Dagostino says no arrests have been made, but charges are pending.