A bad situation could have been a lot worse Saturday evening when a mobile meth lab in an alleged “bag of clothing” activated inside a police car.
The officer, Joe Salazar with the Syracuse Police Department, was transported to Kosciusko Community Hospital where he was treated and released for inhalation of sulfuric acid and HCL gas.
The incident occurred around 10 p.m. in the intake garage at the Kosciusko County Jail.
Salazar had transported Allen Holden, 43, South Hanson Street, Syracuse, to the jail following a domestic battery. Holden was arrested at his home for domestic battery in the presence of a child and took with him a bag he said contained clothing as he was leaving the residence.
After taking Holden to the jail and going through the booking process, Salazar returned to the intake garage, where his squad car was parked, and noticed a chemical smell. Believing the smell was inside the garage, Salazar began to leave.
While leaving the intake garage the squad car began filling with the toxic chemical fumes. At that time Salazar observed the forgotten bag his prisoner had brought with him. While removing the bag from the vehicle, it burst into flames.
Syracuse Police Chief Tony Ciriello stated, “The bag was placed in the car and inadvertently left in the car. The meth lab had yet to be discovered.”
The initial arrest charge held a $10,000 bond. Following the ignition of the mobile meth lab Holden has been charged with a B felony count of manufacturing meth.
“We don’t think he intended to hurt the officer,” said Ciriello, but the matter is under review by the prosecutor’s office.
While Warsaw Police Department and the Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team investigated the incident at the county jail, Syracuse Police went to Holden’s home and found more items associated with manufacturing meth.
The ISP Clandestine Lab Team also went to the home to clean up the ingredients.