The Storey County home described by drug investigators as one of the most polluted methamphetamine labs ever found in Nevada was burned to the ground early Friday to get rid of the contamination.
"It was the quickest, most effective, most efficient way to alleviate the nuisance," Storey County Building Official Dean Haymore said.
Sheriff's spokesman John Tyson pointed out it was also safer and less of a financial drain on the owners than other methods.
The house at 503 Sam Clemens in Mark Twain along the Storey-Lyon County border was raided Sept. 3 by deputies from both counties as well as the state Division of Investigations after a month-long investigation.
David Giovacchini, 43, and Jonathan S. Lyle, 46, were arrested and remain in custody on charges including trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine.
Scott Jackson of the state agency described the lab as one of the largest and most dangerously polluted he has ever seen.
The conclusion, Haymore said, was that fire was the best way to clean up the site. He said with the support of the owners, Lyle's parents, they set fire to it at 8 a.m. Friday.
Tyson said fire crews doused the interior of the structure with gasoline then threw in a lit flare.
"Our goal was to let this thing burn to the ground and it took about 30 minutes," he said.
Storey County fire crews stood by to make sure it was the only thing that burned.
Haymore said it was not only effective, but clean.
"We had air-monitoring stations all around the burn site and never once during the incident did we show any air quality problems whatsoever and we incinerated 100 percent of the contaminants," he said.
It will now be the responsibility of owners to remove what's left.
Haymore said in the meantime, he will continue to monitor ground water around the site to make sure no contaminants show up.
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