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No fire, but drug materials discovered

By:  Shelley Terry - Star Beacon

Ashtabula garbage workers thought they found hazardous materials

ASHTABULA - - Thanks to the city's alert sanitation workers, disaster was averted Thursday on Lake Avenue, firefighters said.

When the workers picked up the garbage shortly before dawn at 3413 Lake Ave., they discovered what they believed to be hazardous materials and called firefighters to dispose of the material properly, officials said.

"We avoided a garbage-truck fire," said Dennis Page, engineer with the Ashtabula Fire Department. "The garbage men did the right thing."

When several members of the city's safety forces arrived, a fire truck and two police cars blocked off traffic in the 3400 block of Lake Avenue for several hours. "We found matches and other material E remnants of what appeared to be a methamphetamine lab," Police Chief Raymond Mattson said. "We secured the scene and called Haz-Mat (hazardous materials unit, for decontamination of the site)."

A 19-year-old man, who said he rents the home, told police he found the materials while cleaning out the property's detached garage. Soon afterward, three more police officers, as well as detective Capt. Robert Stell, detective Sgt. Joseph Cellitti and City Solicitor Thomas Simon arrived on the scene. After perusing the garage and some investigation, police took the 19-year-old man to the Justice Center for further questioning.

Two weeks ago, the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department raided a meth lab at that same address and another on Alfred Drive. Three people were arrested and charged with possession of chemicals and other drug charges.

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