An explosion at what police say was a meth lab sent four people to the hospital this past weekend. Two men and two women, all in their 20’s, were taken to the burn center in Chapel Hill for treatment of second and third degree burns. All remain in serious condition.
The explosion was in an outbuilding behind a mobile home. As firefighters arrived at the site, a neighbor was helping to move boats and other objects away from the outbuilding. Another neighbor coming home from work was met at her door by a sheriff’s deputy who told her she may have to evacuate. It was close to midnight, and she had to wake up her husband to tell him about the explosion. In the end, there was no evacuation.
The four people burned in the explosion left the scene, apparently driving themselves to the hospital when their car collided with another not too far from the site. When police responded, they saw the victims were in bad shape and realized that their condition was unrelated to the crash. The victims were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and then moved by helicopter to the burn unit in Chapel Hill. The driver of the other car was not injured.
Investigators from the SBI’s Meth Lab and Arson units have gone over the site, and neighbors are hoping that the explosion and the injuries suffered by the men and women will serve as a cautionary tale. According to a man who lives nearby, the neighborhood is quiet. This incident made him realize just how rampant the drug problem is.
A few years ago, North Carolina’s governor signed the Meth Lab Prevention Act into law. The law restricts access to pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, ingredients found in cold medicines that used to be available over the counter. The law requires pharmacies to keep medications containing these drugs behind the counter, and anyone purchasing them must be 18 or over, show a valid I.D., and sign a log. Purchases are limited without a prescription.
At the time he signed the bill, the governor stated that these restrictions, combined with North Carolina’s tough criminal penalties, signals that the state has a zero tolerance for meth.
Authorities have filed no charges in the incident. The manufacture of methamphetamines in North Carolina is a class C felony.
Resource: Kinston.com “Explosion at Alleged La Grange Meth Lab Severely Burns Four” 9/27/10