Pearl River Evacuation

The only thing left that possibly would spell out that there was trouble in Poplarville at the building that once housed drug evidence is yellow tape not allowing anyone inside the building that had to be evacuated. Drug supplies to make methamphetamines were found by county workers and then brought back to the evidence locker. Seemingly harmless, but the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics confirmed this was a potential danger.

Peal River County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Aaron Russell says, "They determined that there was red phosphorus in one of the containers and that's an item that we're not used to dealing with for our meth labs, it's also extremely dangerous, potentially hazard."

Ben Wells is the fire chief in Poplarville and the first person the Sheriff's Department called on to examine the drug material which he says could cause serious problems. "The hydrogen chloride gas could potentially cause trouble being an inhalation hazard, then of course, hydrogen chloride gas turning into acid in the lungs literally when it comes in contact with the mucous membrane, so that in itself was our biggest concern."

The Department of Environmental Quality Hazardous Materials team was then called in to handle the scene. Ben Wells says, "We determined that everything was pretty secure in its containers, felt safe with loading it up, and moving it to a more remote area being we're downtown right now we didn't want to move it and open the jars and test them here."

Russell says, "The materials have been collected by the hazmat team at this time, we do have the building open airing out."

Wells adds, "As far as the public itself, really no danger it was noted that's why we felt confident doing a limited isolation of the entire area, and just keeping people away from it."

A private company will dispose of the hazardous materials, and then Pearl River County will get a bill in the neighborhood of five thousand dollars to pay for this work.