Meth lab explodes in Museum District

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A suspected meth lab explosion in Richmond's Museum District is rocking the neighborhood.

Residents are shocked that someone was hurt while possibly making drugs on their block.

The bomb squad had to be called in after Saturday night's fire in the Museum District.

It happened inside an apartment on Grove Avenue, near Thompson.

One man was badly burned and is still in the hospital.

Firefighters were able to control this fire and save some nearby apartments.

Neighbors here say this is unprecedented. They say this is one of the last places you would ever expect to find a meth lab.

Stephen Versen lives just two doors down from the fire.

"We love this neighborhood," Versen said. "In fact we learned at the latest neighborhood association meeting that this is the safest precinct in the city so we're really surprised this happened right down the street."

He says meth labs are something you expect in more rural areas - not in the heart of a city.

"You don't really think of the neighborhood like this," Versen said. "I really hope and believe this is just an isolated incident, but it really is surprising for all of us and a little concerning."

Police say 51-year-old, Jeff Prillaman, lives in the apartment where the meth fire started. He was badly burned and is now at VCU Medical Center.

Firefighters say this could have hurt many more people.

"It could have potentially been very deadly in where it had blown the apartment up," said Lt. Shawn Jones of the Richmond Fire Department. "Of course this is an apartment building that has more than one person so it has the possibility of affecting more than just him."

Still many are wondering how this could happen here. Some in this neighborhood say it's a logical place to cook meth because no one would expect it.

"People are going to hide where they think people aren't going to be looking for them," said Deanna Sisson. "It makes sense I guess."

Evidence from the scene has been sent to the state lab.

Less than a year ago a man living nearby in the Fan admitted to running a meth drug ring inside his Park Avenue home.

Right now Prillaman is not facing any charges. The investigation is still ongoing.

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