Alleged meth lab blows up | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Alleged meth lab blows up

Rob Bhatt

First Larry B. Olson got burned from a fire in his Aspen Avenue duplex early Monday morning.

Then he got busted.

Authorities suspect Olson was cooking methamphetamine on his ground-floor kitchen stove when the chemicals exploded, blowing out the second-floor sliding glass doors shortly before 2 a.m.

Olson, 39, did not initially report the incident to authorities. Instead, investigators believe he tried to hide evidence.

However, a neighbor returning home shortly after the blast called the fire department after noticing smoke and broken glass in the unit next to her own home.

Olson reportedly told firefighters that he was cooking spaghetti. However, firefighters notified police about the blast after finding suspicious chemicals and beakers inside the home.

Firefighters described the explosion as a flash – but no flames – that created smoke and burns on the kitchen wall.

Olson was treated at Barton Memorial Hospital for second-degree burns to his hands and back and first-degree burns to his face. Then he was booked in county jail for suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Investigators from SLEDNET, the South Shore narcotics task force, spent most of Monday sifting through the damage. Among the items seized from the home were bottles of toluol, sulfuric acid, hydriodic acid and phosphorous – all ingredients for methamphetamine, said SLEDNET Officer Brian McGuckin.

McGuckin believes the incident could have left a toxic cloud over the neighborhood had the phosphorous ignited during the explosion.

A hazardous materials crew from Reno was called to the home Monday afternoon to help aid in the cleanup.

“We’re treating this stuff very carefully, because it’s very nasty,” McGuckin said.

Investigators believe the suspect had the capacity to produce a couple of ounces of methamphetamine per batch.

Olson reportedly moved into the home at the beginning of April.

One neighbor, Frankie Mayfield, said he considered the man suspicious because Olson appeared evasive when Mayfield introduced himself to his new neighbor.

“I told my wife right away, ‘this guy is whacked,'” Mayfield said Monday. “I knew there was something wrong with him.”

Investigators reported finding syringes and small plastic bags containing a powdery residue of suspected methamphetamine in the home. Also found was a book on manufacturing methamphetamine and chemistry glassware believed delivered earlier this month to Olson, McGuckin said.

Olson’s bail was set at $35,000. Formal charges are pending arrest reports by the El Dorado County District Attorney’s office.


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