Comments Off on HAZMAT Teams Responding to More and More Meth Labs

AppletonSince the beginning of this year, authorities have uncovered about a half a dozen meth labs just in the Fox Valley. Thursday’s incident at a Grand Chute motel is the latest that needed to be cleaned up by a specially trained team.

Thanks to an alert motel guest who noticed a strange odor coming from a nearby room, authorities who responded to the suspected meth lab say a crisis was most likely averted.


“Instead of ignoring it they did the right thing and contacted authorities, and that way we were able to intervene before anything serious really did happen,” says Appleton firefighter and HAZMAT team member Brian Horst.

Part of that intervention is the Appleton Fire Department HAZMAT team. It’s one of three local members of a regional team that covers all of Northeast Wisconsin.

Horst says, “Primarily, when we we get the call, we gather the HAZMAT technicians that work on the department and they’re out the door within 15 minutes with the HAZMAT vehicle.”

Essentially a toolbox on wheels, the HAZMAT truck has everything the Level II team which monitors the atmosphere and tries to determine what chemicals are present needs to diffuse a situation. There’s everything from tens of thousands of dollars of monitoring equipment to special protective suits and gear worn by the technicians.

It’s all used to methodically determine exactly what authorities have on their hands to ensure the proper response and clean up, because crews don’t always know exactly what they’re up against.

“Flammable vapors may cause an explosion that way,” says Horst, adding, “You may have toxic fumes from the caustics, phosphorus things like that.”

And like Thursday, in what took almost all day to deal with, members of HAZMAT crews work carefully to ensure everyone’s safety.



Comments are closed.