DEA Investigating Chemical Discovery in Delaware County Town

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating whether a drug lab was operating inside a Delaware County auto repair shop gutted by fire earlier this month.

Fire destroyed a warehouse, which was home to an auto body repair and detailing shop at the Ellis Business Plaza at 522 Ellis Avenue in Colwyn, Pennsylvania, and damaged more than a dozen vehicles parked nearby around 11 p.m. on March 8.

When firefighters searched the property, they found several 55 gallon drums filled with organic solvents and chemical precursors often used in the manufacturing of drugs, DEA special agent Patrick Trainor said.


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"We handle and respond to clandestine laboratories," he said. "These are places where meth, PCP and other synthetic drugs are manufactured."

Agents can't yet say whether the chemicals were being used to manufacture drugs or for legitimate purposes.

Officials said it's surprising the drums didn't ignite among the intense flames of the blaze. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

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