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Evacuated Van Nuys residents return after apparent meth lab is cleared

Evacuated Van Nuys residents return after apparent meth lab is cleared
LAPD investigators catalog evidence from a suspected illicit drug in Van Nuys that sent five LAPD officers and a suspect to the hospital. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Residents evacuated from about two dozen apartments overnight in Van Nuys were allowed to return Monday morning after authorities secured what they called a methamphetamine lab, where fumes sent five police officers to the hospital.

The Los Angeles police officers were responding to reports of a man screaming in the 14800 block of Sherman Way about 10 p.m. Sunday. On arriving, they found the door to an apartment open and discovered beakers and other lab materials and became ill, LAPD Sgt. J. Hensley said.

Between 20 and 24 nearby apartments were temporarily evacuated while a Los Angeles Fire Department hazardous materials team worked to clear the area, authorities said. The lab was apparently manufacturing methamphetamine, KTLA reported.

The five officers who fell ill were taken to local hospitals, where they were treated for lightheadedness and later released in good condition, Hensley said.

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The man believed to be screaming – Gagan Saini, 37 – was found inside the apartment and taken to a local hospital and treated for chemical exposure. He was subsequently booked on suspicion of manufacturing drugs.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes early Monday.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

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