CRAB ORCHARD — A meth bust Friday afternoon provided Stanford firefighters with one of their first chances to use a hazardous materials response vehicle since they recently reacquired it from Lincoln County.
Three Crab Orchard residents and a Brodhead resident were arrested Friday after Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger responded to a report of a possible meth lab along Schrock Avenue, north of Crab Orchard.
Crab Orchard residents Christopher Leo Young, 26, Brian Haight, 37, and Brittany Payne, 23, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a methamphetamine precursor and wanton endangerment Brodhead resident Ricky Hale Jr., 30, faces the same charges.
All four were lodged in the Lincoln County Regional Jail.
Folger said after receiving consent from the owner of a trailer to search the premises, he found an active meth lab and evidence of previous meth labs that were probably in operation at the same location.
"It looks like meth had been processed there more than once," he said.
Folger said there were also children's toys present in the home, raising the possibility that children were being exposed to the dangers of meth manufacturing.
Stanford Fire Chief Scott Maples and three firefighters responded to the scene of the meth lab with the city's hazardous materials response vehicle and trailer.
Firefighters donned decontamination suits and set up the trailer's portable decontamination shower for Young, Haight, Hale and Payne, who had been exposed to pure ammonia, known as anhydrous ammonia, during the process of making methamphetamine, Maples said.
A Kentucky State Police hazmat team cleaned up the actual meth lab, which Stanford is not outfitted to do, Maples added.
"Anything major — major spills or a major hazardous incident, we'd call outside agencies. But we can handle the small stuff," he said.
Maples said the hazmat vehicle is capable of cleaning up a variety of dangerous materials, including fuel spills after vehicle wrecks.
The hazmat vehicle was initially obtained by Stanford in 2001 thanks to a Homeland Security grant. The fire department operated it for a period of time until it was given to Lincoln County.
Maples said the city fire department has recently taken over operation of the vehicle again and now has firefighters who are trained hazmat technicians qualified to clean up spills using the vehicle's various tools.
The ammonia decontamination run was the second since the city took over the vehicle, the first coming when it responded to clean up a diesel fuel spill.
As of Monday afternoon, Haight, Hale and Young were being held on $25,000 cash bonds. Payne bonded out on $10,000 Saturday.
The arrests bring the total number of people charged with manufacturing meth in Lincoln County in February to at least 14.