Tenant burned by possible meth chemicals

A Maple Ridge man is hosed down by firefighters after coming into contact with sodium hydroxide he found while cleaning his home
A Maple Ridge man is hosed down by firefighters after coming into contact with sodium hydroxide he found while cleaning his home's basement. The chemical is a key component in the production of crystal meth, and the man's home on the 11600-block of 224th Street was the former site of a meth lab, discovered last August.
— image credit: Robert Mangelsdorf

A Maple Ridge man was sent to hospital Monday afternoon after coming into contact with chemicals likely intended for the production of crystal methamphetamine.

Emergency crews were called to the 11600-block of 224th Street around 4 p.m. on Monday after a tenant in a rental home came across a bag of sodium hydroxide while cleaning up the basement.

Sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, is one of the key components in the production of methamphetamine.

The resident of the home reported burning lips, and a sore throat and was hosed down by fire crews before being taken to Ridge Meadows Hospital. A second tenant also experienced exposure symptoms, but refused treatment.

The Maple Ridge Fire Department's hazardous materials crew sealed the building off and evacuated the tenants, who won't be allowed back in the house until the chemicals are disposed of safely.

The house, located next to Taggs medical marijuana dispensary, was the site of a meth lab explosion last August.

After the lab was discovered, a hazmat team was called in to clean up the site.

Maple Ridge Fire Chief Peter Grootendorst said he wasn't sure if the chemicals had been missed by the hazmat team who cleaned out the house, or if the chemicals had been brought in afterwards.

"At this point, we're not sure where they came from," he said.

Grootendorst said meth labs pose a danger not only to those who operate them but to the community as well.

"The chemicals used are both flammable, explosive, and toxic if mixed incorrectly," he said. "They pose a hazard to the public, and to the firefighters who have to clean them up."

Grootendorst said the man could have avoided injury if he had not handled the chemicals.

"If you ever come across a chemical product you are unsure about, just give us a call and let us come and handle it," he said.


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