Suspected meth lab case now being treated as hoarding situation

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- What started as a possible meth lab investigation has now turned into a hoarding situation.

At least eight apartments at a Glendale complex were evacuated late Monday afternoon. At first investigators suspected a possible meth lab on the premises, but police now say no evidence of meth was found.

This happened near 135th Avenue and Glendale, when hazardous chemicals were reported inside one of the units.

Police tell us a man had been mixing chemicals inside an apartment, with the windows and doors closed. He apparently became overwhelmed by fumes, and called for help. He said he was having trouble breathing.

The man told police he had been using the chemicals to clean his bathroom. At first police were skeptical. But they later confirmed that the man had, in fact, been using bleach and Drano to clean his toilet.

Firefighters tested the air inside the apartment, and say it tested negative for meth-related chemicals.

"At most, we have a hoarding situation," says Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez with MSCO. "We believe he wasn't as forthcoming because of the situation. According to the manager here at the apartment, they have inspections of the apartment. So maybe he was fearful he was going to be evicted."

The man was transported to the hospital with unknown injuries. He's expected to be okay. A firefighter was also taken to the hospital to be checked out for heat-related injuries.

Investigators had a hard time gaining access to the apartment, due to a large amount of clutter blocking the door. In fact, crews couldn't get more than two feet inside the apartment. Police now say they they are treating this as a hoarding situation.