ITHACA, N.Y. — Police have charged a man after finding a “highly acidic” chemical in a vehicle Wednesday after receiving a report that a vehicle may be a mobile meth lab.

Officers and Ithaca firefighters were called around 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday to reports of a vehicle fire near the 100 block of Cherry Street in Ithaca. The nearby roadway was blocked off and an officer at the scene said there was a “breathing hazard” in the area.

The New York State Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team is determining the exact chemical makeup of the found substance.

Ithaca police officials have said a person had been charged with putting noisome or unwholesome substances or maintaining noisome business on or near highway.

They released the following statement:

On July 27, 2016 at about 3:14 pm Ithaca Police Department officers and Ithaca Fire department personnel responded to the 100 block of Cherry Street regarding the report of a mobile meth lab inside of a motor vehicle.

Upon arrival IPD officers and IFD personnel observed a large amount of an unknown liquid had spilled from inside of a vehicle. Emergency personnel on scene cordoned off the area and requested the New York State Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team (CCSERT) to respond to assist. CCSERT responded and determined that the liquid was volatile and hazardous in nature, but it was not associated with a mobile meth lab.

CCSERT was unable to identify with certainty the exact chemical makeup of the liquid. At the request of the CCSERT Team the New York State Environmental Conservation (EnCon) then responded to the scene to assist. EnCon officers are in the process of determining the exact chemical makeup of the liquid, but were able to determine the Ph scale of the liquid as “highly acidic”.

An inspection of the motor vehicle that the liquid spilled from found the vehicle to be filled to capacity with garbage and refuse. Officers from EnCon have summoned a clean-up crew to decontaminate the area. EnCon officers have charge an Ithaca, NY resident with “Putting Noisome Or Unwholesome Substances Or Maintaining Noisome Business On Or Near Highway”, an Unclassified Misdemeanor of the New York State Environmental Conservation law. The exact chemical makeup of the liquid is still being investigated.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.