BAL HARBOUR, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Police have confirmed what was once called a “clandestine lab” inside of a unit of a high-rise in Bal Harbour was indeed a meth lab.
Three floors were evacuated Monday night after, police said, officers discovered the components of what they now confirm was a meth lab.
7SkyForce hovered above the scene as first responders entered the Majestic Towers, located at 9601 Collins Ave., just after 4 p.m., Monday.
Several Bal Harbour Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units were also seen pulling up to the condominium, which is located one block south of Bal Harbour Shops.
MDFR officials said they responded to a hazmat situation, possibly in reference to a chemical assignment, and some floors were being evacuated as a safety precaution.
According to Bal Harbour residents and Majestic Towers officials, someone had recently been evicted from a 15th floor unit, and when building employees went inside it, they found chemicals and other materials they described as concerning.
“Consistent with a clandestine lab,” said Miami-Dade Police detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
The building’s management called Bal Harbour Police after seeing the unit.
When officers responded and examined the unit, they immediately shut everything down on the 14th, 15th and 16th floors of the building and summoned hazmat crews.
“It’s definitely a unique situation, especially here in Bal Harbour,” said Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman.
Initial reports suggested the components found inside the unoccupied unit were associated with making methamphetamine.
“They told us there’s a meth lab on the 15th floor of the Majestic,” said a resident.
However, police have not confirmed this information.
“From an official position, we’re still waiting for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to confirm what the lab was, what the hazardous materials were that are in that apartment,” said Groisman. “Yes, the chatter on the street is that it’s a meth lab.”
Crews worked to evacuate the three floors out of an abundance of caution.
“We got evacuated. I got a phone call that said they’re evacuating the floors, three floors, ‘please come down,’ and I just ran out,” said Marie Miller, who lives on the 14th floor.
Bal Harbour Police requested the Miami-Dade Police Bomb Squad to respond due to the volatility of the materials found in the unit.
“Because of the chemicals involved, this could very easily be a potential explosion,” said Zabaleta.
7News cameras captured the moment the Bomb Squad truck arrived at the scene.
At around 5 p.m., 7News cameras captured firefighters on the ground and several MDFR vehicles parked near the condominium. Firefighters were seen wheeling a stretcher inside the building, but no injuries have been reported.
“It happens. It can happen in any building, any population, anywhere,” said Miller. “It just so happens somebody was doing something they’re not supposed to be doing, and thank God, they’re making sure that everything is OK, and that they can get the stuff out safely, and we’ll be back in shortly.”
Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have also responded to the scene.
As day turned into night, crews in tactical gear were spotted on a balcony.
Monday night, investigators confirmed there is no fear of an explosive situation at the building, but they do need to secure search warrants before they can go in and secure the area.
“We have the most beautiful community in the world, and I can’t believe this is happening here,” said a resident.
Police said once the area is deemed safe, residents who were evacuated would be allowed to return to their units.
“We just went out for dinner, and I guess now we’ll go out for coffee,” said Miller.
If you have any information on this investigation, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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