PATERSON, NJ - An illegal drug manufacturing operation at a home on Illinois Avenue in the Lakeview section of Paterson led to a small explosion early Thursday.

In a Facebook Live video Mayor Andre Sayegh was on scene with first responders, including Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale, who said that four firefighters had to be taken off the tour for treatment after being overcome by fumes that came from what is suspected to be acetone. All four are said to be “doing fine.” Two families were also displaced. 

Speziale said that in the basement of the home investigators found “green vegetation” that appeared to be ground up coca leaves and other “precursor chemicals”. Initially Speziale surmised it was cocaine being manufactured, later to change that to K2, a synthetic drug characterized by its flavor. 

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The situation was “extremely dangerous” Speziale said, adding that just a small amount of static electricity from something as simple as flipping a ligh switch could spark a major explosion.


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