Due to some web problems, we'll post this story here:
Turns out it wasn't a meth lab after all:
Residents of a large housing complex in San Pedro were forced to evacuate Monday evening after firefighters discovered what they believed to be was a methamphetamine lab in one of the units.
It turned out to be a scientist's apartment and wasn't a lab.
Firefighters found chemicals they believed were suspicious while responding to a flooding call shortly before 4 p.m. at the Casa Verde Estates complex in the 28000 block of Western Avenue.
Police said they responded, suspected they had discovered a drug lab and called out the bomb squad to examine what appeared to be an explosive device. Firefighters said that turned out to be inert.
The whole event created a mess. Northbound Western Avenue was closed to traffic, causing a backup into San Pedro. The southbound lanes remained open, but traffic was still snarled.
Residents of 68 units were evacuated to the neighboring Garden Village shopping center parking lot, while some tenants were told to stay inside. Others who were arriving after work couldn't enter their units.
"We can't go into our apartments?" said Carol Smith, one of about 30 people standing outside.
Rudy Carruolo arrived home
from work and was not allowed in. His wife, Janelle, remained inside their home.
"My wife's in there and she can't come out, and I can't get in," Carruolo said.
By 7:30 p.m., dozens of people remained in the parking lot. The investigation continued until about 9:30 p.m.
Employees at the nearby Albertsons brought out bananas and bottles of water to residents who milled about, talking and waiting for word on when they could go home.
Neighbors said residents of the unit in question often had loud parties and people were constantly coming and going.
Firefighters said later that a scientist lived in the unit and he could not be located.