NEW ORLEANS -- Drug enforcement agents, New Orleans police, firefighters and EMS converged on the 700 block of Dumaine, cordoned off the block, put on HazMat suits and searched a house they were concerned could containing dangerous chemicals associated with a meth lab.
“Methamphetamines were being sold from this location,” said Commander Jeff Walls of the NOPD’s 8th District.
Walls said police got a tip from a caller about drug activity at the location.
“Narcotics unit did some follow up and verified that narcotics were being sold from this location,” he said.
Walls said the 32-year-old man who lives at the Dumaine address, Scott Kowaleski, was arrested on drug charges. The NOPD joined forces with the DEA, which brought in a chemist to examine the chemicals.
“Well it’s just chemical set-up for a meth lab,” Walls said. “Doesn’t appear that it was an active lab right now.”
Still some neighbors were alarmed about the notion of a meth lab in the French Quarter.
“You know, it's scary that it was explodable or whatever,” said Derek Elias. “But I'm sure it's safe now.”
Resident Lloyd Lind said he was “totally shocked and surprised.”
“I’ve never seen anybody go in or out of that house,” Lind said.
The EMS says there was no danger to neighbors, only the people inside.
“It could have an effect on respiratory for people inside the house, but there's no threat outside,” said EMS Deputy Chief Ken Bouvier. “They’re monitoring it. There are meters and monitors that detected nothing outside the building.”
Bouvier said it could have been an active lab at one point. That's being investigated.
He stresses the containers they found inside were sealed and there was no kind of a spill to cause concern.