October 24, 2021

Meth lab blast rattles neighbors in Cortland

12 evacuated from apartments

A dozen residents from an apartment building on Madison Street in Cortland are uninjured after firefighters and police responded Saturday afternoon to a small methaphetamine lab explosion at the address.

Cortland firefighters responded at 12:25 p.m. to 143 Madison St. to reports of an explosion, according to a news release from the fire department.

When firefighters arrived, smoke could be seen, but there was no active fire, said Deputy Chief Wayne Friedman.

Police said it was a one-pot meth lab.

“The vessel failed, resulting in a small explosion,” police Lt. Michael Strangeway said this morning.

He noted it knocked a bathroom door off its hinges. The lab was found in the apartment of a 63-year-old woman, although Strangeway said she was not involved, nor was she injured in the explosion.

Residents were evacuated and evaluated at the scene by TLC Emergency Medical Service ambulance crews. Friedman said evaluations are standard procedure for such an incident and did not believe anyone was taken to a hospital.

A fire department engine remained on standby with a hoseline deployed while city police and the New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team processed the contents of “a suspected clandestine drug lab,” the release said.

All apartments in the building were cleared and allowed to be reoccupied around 5:15 p.m. except for the one police were investigating.

“Our investigation is continuing,” Strangeway said.