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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

SLIDELL, La. -- Some people in a Slidell apartment complex where a meth lab exploded Wednesday night are packing up.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office says it happened at the Sandpiper Cove Condominiums on Pontchartrain Drive, and resident James Ellis said it won't be his home much longer.

'We're moving because of this, and I just don't want to be a part of anything like this,' Ellis said. 'I have three children, so me being a father, I have to be concerned about it.'

It is meth, something authorities say led to an explosion at the apartment directly across from Ellis'. He said he heard the boom and felt the rattling in his apartment.

Evidence of the blow is visible in the unit's sliding glass door frame, which was pushed out from the apartment's wall.

Ellis said the man who lives there, who authorities have not yet identified, moved in two months ago from New Hampshire. Deputies said he was recovering in a burn unit in Baton Rouge Thursday and may face criminal charges when he is released.

'This individual, in the process of cooking his product, literally blew himself up,' said St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain.

Law enforcement says this case not only shows how dangerous meth and manufacturing it can be, it also shows how close it's getting to more populated areas.

'They have become more mobile,' Strain said, 'We find that they do pop up at apartment complexes and hotels, automobiles outside of a building.'

Strain said his detectives have busted almost 20 clandestine labs so far this year and they need the community to help them get to others before an explosion happens again, or turns out worse.

'If you smell horrible odors coming from a neighboring apartment or piece of property, make sure you notify us, give us the opportunity to look into it,' he said.

There was no update available Thursday on the man's condition.

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