More on this morning’s evacuation, meth lab in Harbin
3:15 p.m. update: According to the Washington Post, two students and one “campus visitor” were arrested earlier today in response to the drug lab found in Harbin Hall. The Post spoke with Piringer, who provided more details about the lab itself.
“They did have some heating equipment. They did have a ventilation system,” he said, adding that officers found “a variety of chemicals” inside the dorm room.
1:49 p.m. update: The drug lab found in Harbin Hall did not produce methamphetamine, according to campus officials who spoke with ABC 7, who passed the information along to DCFD. Allegedly, the lab was meant to produce dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogenic drug.
12:40 p.m. update: According to MPD officer Hugh Carew, the three students “persons of interest” MPD detained were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Ellen Thein, a freshman who DPS escorted back into Harbin to get her inhaler, said that DPS will escort residents into the building one at a time if they have critical needs. These include medication or the need to accommodate travel plans.
“They said, ‘You’d better change your pants,'” Thein said, adding that she figured this meant that Harbin Hall will remain evacuated for some time.
She grabbed a pair of pants for her roommate, Charlotte Kelly (COL ’14), who was not allowed back into the building.
“They won’t tell us much, so I’ve been getting all my information from the Internet or news,” Kelly said. “I would really like to brush my teeth.”
12:15 p.m. update: MPD Sergeant Raul Mendez confirms that three students were detained.
Original post: The early-morning evacuation of Harbin Hall was a response to the discovery of methamphetamine lab on the ninth floor of the dormitory, as earlier rumors alleged.
According to the Washington Post, the Department of Public Safety discovered the lab at approximately 5 a.m. while responding to a report of “strange odors” from a ninth-room floor in the dormitory.
After the jump, MPD finds chemicals for drug production, but no drugs, and fire alarms fail to sound when activated.
Harbin residents were evacuated from the dorm at approximately 6 a.m., while D.C Fire and Emergency Medical Services’s Hazard Materials unit was called to the scene at 6:15 a.m., according to DCFD spokesperson Pete Piringer. WTOP reports that Metropolitan Police Department officers discovered “chemicals consistent with the production of meth” in the dorm room, but no drugs.
Ted Helfrich (MSB ’14), a resident of the eighth floor, claims that DPS officers knocked on his door after failing to set off the fire alarm fire alarms failed.
“Everyone was waking up and it was chaos everywhere,” Helfrich said. “They tried to pull the fire alarms, but they weren’t going off.”
Photo: Max Blodgett
At 9:19 a.m., Harbin residents received an email from Patrick Killilee, executive director of Student Housing, allowing them to re-enter the dormitory. Almost immediately afterward, however, the building was re-evacuated by emergency services to “ensure the all clear,” according to Jordan Gray, University spokesperson.