A meth lab inside a US government building may seem to be an apt setting for a Hollywood movie, however, this time it is for real. An explosion in National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg on 18 July led police to the discovery of an illegal methamphetamine lab, according to Montgomery County Police.
The finger of suspicion has been for the time being pointed at an on-duty officer, who was guarding the facility. The security guard has since resigned, but he was found with burns on his hands and arms. It is not known whether the explosion was tied to the drug being manufactured.
"We are looking at the possibility that this was some sort of chemical reaction due to the manufacturing of drugs," said Paul Starks, Captain of Montgomery County Police, reported NBC News.
Previously, the building was involved in combustion research and only later was it transformed for scientific research. Popular Science reported that the room, where the explosion took place, was cleared of all the equipment as it was awaiting the consignment of new equipment for its next experiment as the last one had ended.
The blast has not injured anyone apart from the guard, but it was said to be a powerful blast, since the blast shield was sent flying to about 25 feet.
However, this blast has the Congress concerned, as it has asked for more information on the explosion. "The fact that this explosion took place at a taxpayer-funded NIST facility, potentially endangering NIST employees, is of great concern," Lamar S Smith, a congressmen from Texas and chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee in the US House of Representatives, reported Chemical and Engineering News.
This facility is spread on a 578-acre campus and is an entity of US Department of Commerce. The facility has 3,000 scientists, engineers and others.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County Police is jointly investigating the case with Drug Enforcement Administration. There have been no arrests made as of yet.