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Firefighters Discover Racine Drug Lab

Racine firefighters responded to calls of a possible structure fire on Park View Drive, but they found a drug lab instead.

**Updated 5:40 p.m.

Racine firefighters responded to calls of a blaze in the 400 block of Park View Drive on Friday, but when they went inside, they found more than just a structure fire — they uncovered a drug lab.

Two men saw smoke coming from the rear of the home from a block away, according to a press release from the Racine Fire Department. They attempted to knock on the doors to alert any occupants about the fire, but no one answered.

Firefighters responded to the fire entered the house, which appeared to be vacant, to extinguish the flames and discovered they were dealing with more than just a fire.

"They entered...to investigate and extinguish the fire when they became aware that they had encountered the materials that constitute a clandestine drug lab," Fire Lt. Mark Villapando said in the release.

Crews from the Clandestine Drug Lab unit from the Milwaukee Regional Office of the state Department of Criminal Investigation responded, and took over the investigation. 

"The effort to remove all evidence and contaminated materials in the home had responders on scene until morning," the department said.

According to scanner reports from Racine Uncovered, police blocked off the street until well after midnight and authorities used a number of blue tarps to drape the front of the house to protect the area from dangerous fumes.

Our media partners at WISN 12 News will air a report later tonight, but say in the meantime that the property owner returned home Saturday afternoon for the first time in months. He had leg surgery in December and has been in a nursing home since then. 

The man told a photographer with WISN that he allowed his nephew to live in the upstairs apartment to take care of the house, and that the man was unaware of any drug activity there.

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