Erie Police say a morning drug bust turned dangerous after a suspect allegedly poured toxic chemicals down the drain, starting a fire.
Samiar Nefzi has been following this story all day. He joins us from the 1100 block of East 20th Street.
Neighbors say they were not surprised to hear their neighbor has a drug operation going on. Many said people were always going in and out of the house.
“Back in the day, it was pretty tough when 20 Grand, the cafe was there. Now, it’s a daycare. The other bars closed down and its pretty quiet. Then, this started,” said Rick Eller, neighbor.
Around a.m. the Erie Police Drug and Vice Unit and SWAT all arrived to the 1100 block of E. 20th St. Police were serving a search warrant to Tim Belczyk after receiving information about a possible meth lab.
During the search, Belczyk went into his basement and started pouring materials down the drain, causing a fire.
“It was very dangerous. These are toxic chemicals and they are volatile,” said Deputy Chief Nolan, Erie Police Department.
JET 24/FOX 66 spoke with one neighbor who lives right next to the house and he says he has had his suspicions for a while now, actually calling police on several occasions.
“We’ve called the police multiple times over the last year, a lot more calls over the last four months,” said Eller.
It turns out the location has been on the Erie Police Department’s radar.
“It was the subject of an investigation prior to this, but that investigation went stale,” said Deputy Chief Nolan.
However, that investigation helped to lead police to today’s findings. Also recovered at the scene was a small hand gun, a sawed-off shotgun and a small amount of methamphetamine.
Deputy Chief Nolan says there is a concern with the material that was poured down the drain, adding they will be looking into the situation.
Police have charged Belczyk with 15 charges, including tampering with evidence and operating a methamphetamine lab.