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Winooski Police investigate suspected meth lab - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Winooski Police investigate suspected meth lab

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WINOOSKI, Vt. -

Abenaki Way in Winooski was a popular place for all the wrong reasons Sunday morning.

"Generally this downtown area of Winooski is a peaceful and quiet place to live," said Ben Clarke, a local resident.

But Sunday the small street was filled with first responders, a hazmat truck and a bomb squad as police found what they say fit the description of a meth lab inside the bedroom of a third floor apartment at Keen's Crossing.

"The container was a ice tea plastic gallon container that you buy and it had a device on the top of it and you could see it fermenting. You could see it actually boiling and you could see it off-gassing from it," said Winooski Fire Chief David Bergeron.

Unable to determine what was brewing inside the bottle -- and fresh off a training on how to spot meth labs and their use of plastic bottles -- Bergeon said he decided take every precaution.  Plus, he said several hypodermic needles were found inside the apartment and the person arrested for the domestic disturbance appeared high. "Today with unknowns and more of the labs being found closer into the city limits and who knows, we just don't want the emergency workers to walk in on something we don't know," he said.

Officials evacuated apartments immediately surrounding the one in question and blocked off the road.  They also had a bomb squad robot and fire hoses on standby just in case.
"We planned for the worst and hoped for the best and fortunately we got the best out of this. It ended up not being a meth lab," Chief Bergeron said.

What exactly was inside that ice tea bottle -- police still aren't sure, but they said it may be something with an alcoholic base. They're waiting on some testing for some answers.

Police said the incident began as a domestic violence investigation.  They ended up arresting Pan Costa-Mangina, 20, on aggravated domestic assault and unlawful restraint charges.

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