Possible meth lab draws emergency crews to West Side

Mar 24, 2017

A portion of Potomac Avenue near Hoyt Street on Buffalo's West Side was closed for several hours Friday morning as fire crews came upon a potentially lethal situation.

"We were called out to the scene here shortly before 4 a.m. for ringing alarms," said Division Chief Michael Tuberdyke of the Buffalo Fire Department.

"When companies did get on location, they reported a strange odor and then there was at least one other occupant that reported that there may be indications of a possible meth lab inside."

He said that triggered additional authorities, including hazmat, ambulance and utility teams. Other authorities were put on standby.

"Before we enter, we have to have our hazmat teams stand by," said Tuberdyke. "They'll get suited up and when they do go in, they're looking for certain key indictors of a possible meth lab."

However, Tuberdyke said they did not find a lab, anything burning or any signs of illegal activity inside the structure. Police are likely to conduct their own investigation.

Among the factors that complicated the situation was a resident who initially refused to vacate the structure and a report of two other residents who were possibly hiding.

"We didn't know what we were dealing with or who we were dealing with," Tuberdyke said. "There's a lot of unknowns when you have something like this, so obviously we want to use as much caution as we possibly can for our safety, for law enforcement safety and for the safety of civilians in the area."

Residents were allowed to return to the building as crews cleared the scene about 8 a.m. Tuberdyke reported no injuries from the incident.