Hazmat situation in Yonkers caused by marijuana grow house inside apartment building

YONKERS, New York (WABC) -- Police in Yonkers responded to a hazmat situation at a building after a drug lab was found inside on Wednesday afternoon.

Wearing protective suits and breathing through respirators, police cleared a forest of pot, more than a hundred plants so big it looked like they were selling Christmas trees on the sidewalk.

But for whoever set up this place, Wednesday night was no holiday.

"They actually built a wall in the opening of the door, tapped into the electrical system, multiple plants and it looks like they're been here for a while," said Charles Gardner, Yonkers Police Commissioner.

It was a report of a gas smell that led firefighters and Con Ed to 26 Yonkers Ave. Wednesday afternoon.

There was no leak, but what they did find stunned even veteran cops.

"They were surprised that, yes, there were so many plants," said Captain Peter Butler, Yonkers Police Department.

Investigators say the giant grow operation had taken over two apartments in the multistory building, they quickly evacuated for safety.

After all it was just last year and a few miles south, when a grow house in the Bronx exploded as firefighters checked a similar call. In that case FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy was killed.

"Very serious, any time you mix chemicals and electrical it could be a volatile situation," Gardner said.

Fortunately, Yonkers police and state troopers safely secured this scene.

"As of right now we're definitely not letting anybody in," an officer said.

Residents were unable to get home for hours. One couple says they'd had no idea of the double drug den in the place they call home.

"Yeah, I'm surprised because for a long time this thing going on and we don't know, that's surprise," said Jose Enamorado, a resident.

Police are working to determine who was renting the apartments. So far, there are no arrests.

Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.