Let me tell you about my night... or

Fire trucks, Paramedics, Hazmat, Oh My!
Policemen, An Arrest, DOE, Oh My!

(Spoiler: Before the few who know me here worry, let me start this out with - nobody received so much as a broken finger nail in the events of this story)

Spring Cleaning

That's how it all started, my roommate and I were cleaning up the backyard. I found a large green duffle bag between the storage shed and the garage. I opened it up to see what was in it and, oh my gawd, the smell just about knocked me out. I tell my roommate it smells 'like' ammonia, he says it's just cat piss on the bag. I said no way, there's no way that's cat piss. He insists it is and has to go check it out. Oh guess what? He believed me then! Inside this green duffle bag was a big tank. So we call the fire department to find out who to call to check it out - it's clearly not something that should be in our backyard.

The fire department said for us to stay out of the backyard and they'd have someone over. At that time - I went downstairs to inform my tenants in the duplex, so they wouldn't worry when men in masks show up. My roommate had apparently already told them.


About 10 minutes later a big fire truck shows up, then another big fire truck, then a paramedic truck, then another fire truck. That was it for a few minutes. Till another fire truck, a first responder rig, and a hazardous waste (hazmat) truck shows up. We live across the street from a grade school, this being after 3:00, that side of the street had no cars. By the time they were done the block from one end of the other was covered with trucks. They cordone off the street on both ends, and the alley on both ends. At this time I'm thinking to myself, gawd what if I am wrong and it is cat piss on a bag, but geez a swimming pool full of cat piss would not smell like this had, so I was hoping they were not bringing out the Calvary for a little cat piss. They ask us a few questions then go about putting on the hazmat suits. About 10 minutes later they come back and put big red 'danger danger danger' strips of tape across the side of the house to keep people out.

What was it?

I've certainly never had a meth lab, but apparently it was a tank of almost pure ammonia, something called anhydrous ammonia, which is poisonous and highly flammable. (What I gathered from their talking is store bought ammonia is 2% pure, and the stuff in this tank is up to 98% pure). This makes sense to me because the first thing they asked when I said it smelled like ammonia is "like you buy in the store?" and I said, no like 100X stronger than that! The tank had corroded so the ammonia was leaking out. They searched the property further and found nothing else related. They said they had to call in the Department of Ecology (DOE), because they couldn't move the tank until they packed it in ice. (I believe they were referring to dry ice.)

The Arrest

While all this was going on 3 police cars and an unmarked detective car shows up. (They had to park on our side of the street, the other side was full of firetrucks , etc.) This material apparently is not found usually outside a farm unless it's for a meth lab, so they had to find out the names of all who lived in my house. So me and my roommate gave them our names, and they asked for the names of the folks who lived downstairs. I gave them the name of the male who lives downstairs, they didn't ask for further info and I knew the gal had an outstanding warrant for a traffic ticket, so I was glad they didn't ask me. Now they go to their door just as a formality, the gal is asked her name and she gave them her real name. The police went to look the property over further and then came back, knocked on her door and said "Your under arrest" - The thing is, why the heck did she stay there? If it were me and I knew police would be showing up and I had a warrant and didn't wish to go to jail, I would have left and went to a movie or something! Anyhow the problem with this, is the whole neighborhood was watching. The entire block was covered with emergency vehicles, cops, etc., so when someone is taken off the property in handcuffs it is going to look like they were involved in something very serious. I still have no idea why she didn't leave, or didn't answer the door - now she's going to end up in jail till at least Monday and probably lose the new job she just got, because apparently they "Won't let her out on OR, because she has a FTA". What a night. at least I didn't have any warrants!

The End