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Center City Hotel Evacuated Due To Portable Meth Lab

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By Jenn Bernstein and Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Guests at the Hampton Inn near the Convention Center experienced an early wake-up call Saturday morning when close to 400 of them had to be evacuated after firefighters found a portable meth lab in one of the rooms.

“The alarm went off at 5:30 in the morning,” said hotel guest Valerie Rasche from Illinois. “There was an intercom announcement that told everyone to evacuate the building.”

Police and firefighters rushed to the scene and discovered the dangerous situation.

“They proceeded to the third floor where they found some chemicals in a room,” said Philadelphia Deputy Fire Chief Derrick Sawyer.

Police say two men checked into the hotel Friday night, and began to operate the meth lab.  It was fumes coming out of the room that caused hotel staff to evacuate the building and call 9-1-1.

“The occupants had dismantled the fire alarm and with meth you’re actually cooking chemicals,” said Sawyer. “It can cause an explosion.”

After about two hours, everyone, except those staying on the third floor, was allowed back inside the hotel.

The third floor was closed off all day as police gathered evidence and continued to deal with the dangerous chemicals, but police told Eyewitness News, portions of the third floor are now open.

The hotel said in a statement: “The safety and security of our hotel guests and team members is always our highest priority and our hotel is working diligently with local authorities to resolve this matter.”

Police say one of the men that rented the room, a 27-year-old, is in custody and will soon be charged.  They are still looking for the second man.

No one was injured, and the hotel is open for business.

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