NORTH MATEWAN – A possible Meth Lab explosion at North Matewan severely injured a man and caused a shelter in place at the emergency room of Williamson Memorial Hospital (WMH) on Thursday morning.
The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident, but did not release the name of the man involved in the alleged meth lab. The man suffered burns and other unnamed injuries.
The hospital ER staff and EMS workers had to go through the decontamination tent after the man was brought to the Williamson facility with chemical residue on his body.
Cpl. Norman Mines said the case is still under investigation. He said officers received permission to search the premises of the North Matewan residence.
“We found possible evidence of a meth lab,” Mines said. “We are sending samples to the West Virginia State Police crime lab in South Charleston for analysis.”
He said the Matewan Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene in North Matewan. The Williamson Fire Department was called to the ER at WMH to assist with the staff there.
Mingo County EMS Director Doug Goolsby was also notified of the incident and assisted with the call. Goolsby said he was contacted to be a liaison between the state agency and the hospital in case the ER became contaminated.
Williamson Memorial Hospital was contacted but had on comment.
According to the CDC web-site, “Methamphetamine (meth), is a powerfully addictive stimulant, can be easily produced in illicit, makeshift laboratories and generally is considered the fastest-growing illicit drug in the United States (1). Aside from the inherent physical and physiological dangers of the drug itself, persons in and around meth laboratories can be acutely exposed to hazardous substances used in meth production. Exposure to these substances can occur from volatile air emissions, spills, fires, and explosions.”
People can be exposed by breathing the air that may contain suspended contaminant particles as dust, by touching surfaces that are contaminated from substances used to make meth.
Cpl. Mines was assisted by deputies Josh Endicott, Allen Mounts and Mark Lendearo.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)