Pubdate: Thu, 21 Feb 2002
Source: Wichita Eagle (KS)
Copyright: 2002 The Wichita Eagle
Author: Alex Branch, The Wichita Eagle
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Authorities say officers checking on two children at a northwest Sedgwick 
County home discovered of a meth lab Wednesday, which exploded in the 
garage. Three deputies and the man and woman living at the house at 93rd 
Street North and 135th Street West were treated for minor injuries. The 
explosion occurred about 8 a.m.

Investigators don't know if the explosion was accidental or deliberately 
caused to destroy evidence, said Division Chief Rick Brazill of the 
Sedgwick County Fire Department.

"This stuff is so dangerous that I'm surprised this kind of thing doesn't 
happen more often," he said.

Deputies were at the house because a school bus driver called 911 about 7 
a.m. to request they check on two children who didn't show up on the 
morning route.

The driver was suspicious because there was a lot of activity in the garage 
for such an early hour, Brazill said.

Deputies had just arrived when they heard the explosion, said Sedgwick 
County Sheriff's Lt. John Daily.

The children -- ages 3 and 13 -- were inside the house at the time and were 
not injured, he said. They were placed in protective custody. The man and 
the woman were arrested.

Methamphetamine labs have grown to one of the state's biggest drug problems 
in the past eight years. Last year, 846 labs were busted here compared with 
four in 1994.

Last week, a meth lab was found less than 20 feet from a Wichita elementary 

Meth is made by cooking a mix of chemicals that spew noxious and volatile 
gases. Inhaling those gases can cause serious injury or death.

Neighbors downwind of the lab were told to shut their doors and windows 
while firefighters put out the fire.

Some were shaken by the scare, but not completely surprised.

"We've known something has been going on down there for a while," said 
Chris Ball, who lives two houses away. "A lot happening at strange hours of 
the night."

But he didn't realize it was a meth lab.

"You don't want your kids out playing when something like that is going on 
down the road," he said.
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