Michiana firefighters on the front lines against meth addiciton

NOW: Michiana firefighters on the front lines against meth addiciton

PENN TOWNSHIP, Ind. – Over the years Michiana firefighters have seen their fair share of meth lab fires.

One of the biggest dangers is running into the flames when you’re not sure what started the fire.

According Brian Kazmierzak, the chief of training at Penn Township Fire, crews are usually just called out for explosions and they don’t even realize they’re heading into a plume of dangerous and toxic chemicals.

“Honestly you really don’t know most of the time until the fire is out and you start lookin’ around,” says Kazmierzak. “Then it is almost too late unfortunately because your members have already been exposed. They already have the chemicals on their gear.”

Then at that point, all there’s left to do is try and get the guys and their gear clean, hoping the chemicals aren’t doing damage to their lungs.

“It's almost just like any other hazmat scene where we have to decontaminate the patient or decontaminate the firefighter or the patient. And if there's a victim inside the last thing we want to do is take that patient to the hospital and contaminate the hospital with the chemicals they may have been exposed to as well,” says Kazmierzak.

Once the fire is out, that’s when investigators can get in and take a look around and find the red flags of a meth explosion.

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