LADSON — Berkeley County sheriff's deputies evacuated nearly 50 preschool children from King's Kids Day Care on Tuesday after they discovered a meth lab inside a nearby abandoned mobile home.
Deputies in hazmat suits walked out of the single-wide mobile home about three hours later carrying a red duffel bag that officials said contained three or four canisters of components used to make methamphetamine.
Deputies responded to the back corner of an automotive salvage yard behind 5110 College Park Road at about 2:30 p.m., said Blair Jennings, the new public information officer for the sheriff's office.
Jennings said the property owner called authorities when he smelled a foul odor coming from the abandoned home. The owner told investigators that he has had problems with homeless people using the structure.
An investigator entered the mobile home and immediately cleared the area when he smelled fumes and saw condensation on the containers, indicating the chemicals inside were active, Jennings said.
The home is about 100 yards, in clear view, from the King's Kids Day Care. Director JoAnne Wiggins said they immediately cleared the school after receiving a call from the sheriff's office.
"I think we did very well," she said. "We contacted 47 parents in 20 minutes."
Wiggins said the incident is unlike anything that has happened before in the school's nearly 20-year history.
Deputies waited outside the mobile home for nearly two hours until they got a search warrant. Jennings said there was some uncertainty about ownership. By 4:30 p.m., deputies were entering the home and carrying items out.
Jennings said the chemicals were active and they found remnants of methamphetamine inside. They also found paperwork that could offer leads.
No suspects were arrested as of Tuesday night.