Man arrested following hazmat situation in New Westminster

Man arrested following hazmat situation in New Westminster
Drug lab explosion could have been a lot worse, say New Westminster police
An apartment building in New Westminster, B.C. had to be evacuated Sunday after an apparent explosion went off in what police suspect was an illicit drug lab.

Up to two dozen residents from the Carnarvon Street building were forced to find somewhere else to stay overnight as hazmat crews combed through the property.

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Police were called to the scene with reports of an explosion, but Sgt. Jeff Scott said it doesnt appear anyone inside or outside the building was hurt.

Part of the investigation will be to determine who are the residents? Who lives in the suite? Whos associated with the suite? And so, as you can imagine, something like this, from a policing side of the investigation can start to grow as we determine what evidence there is for the different offences that may be being committed inside the apartment, he added.

"The unit that they responded to had the glass broken out of it as a result of what appeared to be an explosion," Scott said. "I dont believe theres been any injuries as a result."

From a police perspective, its going to be slow and methodical. We want to make sure that were preserving any evidence. We also want to be making sure the safety of officers and first responders is upheld throughout the whole process of dismantling it, he said.

Most of the displaced residents spent the night with friends and family, while emergency services helped the others locate a place to sleep.

Police arrested one man in connection with the suspected drug lab, but he was released and no charges were recommended Monday afternoon.

Anytime you have flammable liquids, accelerants inside a confined area, theres a substantial risk of explosion, and Ive seen many cases where its actually destroyed a building with a large enough explosion, he told media Monday morning.

Authorities stayed on scene all night guarding the apartments, and police headed back inside for further investigation Monday morning. The scene is still being treated as a suspected drug lab but the chemicals and drug involved are not yet known.

A number of lights and TVs were left on suggesting residents in the building picked up and ran yesterday afternoon when the explosion happened. Fortunately no one was injured. #Police have one man in custody. #NewWestminster

The fire departments hazardous materials team and the federal clandestine drug lab team were brought in to dismantle the lab and remove anything that could pose a threat to investigators.

An apartment building on Carnarvon Street is cordoned off with police tape as authorities investigate a suspected drug lab. Nov. 4, 2018.

Both Scott and Armstrong said it was too early to say what types of drugs were being made inside the apartment. More information is expected as the investigation continues.

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Police in New Westminster say no one was hurt in a drug lab explosion, but theyre warning it could have been a lot worse.

Police in New Westminster say no one was hurt in a drug lab explosion, but they’re warning it could have been a lot worse.

The department says in a news release police and firefighters responded to a blast at an apartment building on Sunday afternoon.

The release says when officers entered the suite, they saw evidence indicating the presence of a drug lab, and a man inside the suite was arrested.

No residents in the apartment building were injured, but it had to be evacuated and support services were on scene to assist those displaced.

Sgt. Jeff Scott says many residents could have been injured if the explosion were bigger or if fire had spread, and he’s encouraging people to call police if they observe any drug activity or suspicious behaviour in their buildings.

Police say they’re executing a search warrant and examining the scene with a drug lab team, and they encourage the residents to check with police to determine when it’s safe to return home.